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Poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, and Others
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Poetry that inspires us...
Poems by Hafiz, Rumi, and others
Please Note: These "translations" are renditions for modern readers by Coleman Barks, Daniel Ladinsky, and others. Daniel Ladinsky, who did most of the Hafiz offered here, was born and raised in the Midwest. For six years he made his home in a spiritual community in western India, where he worked in a rurla clinic free to the poor, and lived with the disciples and family of Meher Baba. To do the work Ladinsky depended on the translations by Wilberforce Clark published in 1891.
Updated 6/27/12

The Prophet said that women
totally dominate men of intellect and possessors of hearts,
But ignorant men dominate women,
for they are shackled by the ferocity of animals.
--Rumi
 
 
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it's furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
--Rumi
 
 
This moment, this love, comes to rest in me
many beings in one being
In one wheat grain a thousand sheep stacks

Inside the needle's eye
a turning night of stars

There is a light seed grain inside
you fill it with yourself or it dies

I am caught in this curling energy, your hair
who ever is calm and sensible
is insane!
--Rumi
 
 
Desse Barama (Peace) by Hamza El Din
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon, smiling like a rose,
and a sweet benediction
flows through everything existing.
How beautiful life is.
I marvel at people who are not in love with life.
You, my girl, are beautiful,
and your beauty,
like the beautiful thought of peace,
belongs to the eternity.
Detest war and destruction.
When you go to the riverbank,
and the sun sets in the evening,
the waters of the river will be rippling softly,
and from a distance, in the twilight, you will see white sails.
A song of the boatman will come from there.
'Today no suffering, no suffering.'
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon,
smiling like a rose.

 

 

THE LUTE WILL BEG

 

 

You need to become a pen

In the Sunīs hand.

 

We need for the earth to sing

Through our pores and eyes.

 

The body will again become restless

Until your soul paints all its beauty

Upon the sky.

 

Donīt tell me, dear ones,

That what Hafiz says is not true,

 

For when the heart tastes its glorious destiny

And you awake to our constant need

for your love

 

Godīs lute will beg

For your hands.

 

Hafiz

 

 

Tender Words
--Rumi
 
Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.
One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world.

 
Good poetry makes the universe reveal a secret
--Hafiz
 
 
You Were Brave in that Holy War

You have done well
In the contest of madness.

You were brave in that holy war.

You have all the honorable wounds
Of one who has tried to find love
Where the Beautiful Bird
Does not drink.

May I speak to you
Like we are close
And locked away together?

Once I found a stray kitten
And I used to soak my fingers
In warm milk;

It came to think I was five mothers
On one hand.

Wayfarer,
Why not rest your tired body?
Lean back and close your eyes.

Come morning
I will kneel by your side and feed you.
I will so gently
Spread open your mouth
And let you taste something of my
Sacred mind and life.

Surely
There is something wrong
With your ideas of
God

O, surely there is something wrong
With your ideas of
God

If you think
Our Beloved would not be so
Tender.

 
---"The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the great Sufi Master" translated by
Daniel Ladinsky

Every child has known God

Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird,
But the God who knows only 4 words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me , come dance.”

-- Hafiz



With That Moon Language

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them, "Love me."

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye

that is always saying,

with that sweet moon language,

what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?


 

Stop Being So Religious

What

Do sad people have in

Common?

It seems

They have all built a shrine

To the past

And often go there

And do a strange wail and

Worship.

What is the beginning of

Happiness?

It is to stop being

So religious

Like That.

("The Gift" - versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

 

I realize that the dawn
when we'll meet again
will never break,

so I give it up,
little by little, this love.

But something in me laughs
as I say this, someone

shaking his head and chuckling
softly, Hardly, hardly


--Rumi a la coleman barks...



Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body.

Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!

At
night, I open the window and ask

the moon to come and press its
face against mine.

Breathe into
me.

Close the language-door and

open the love window.
The moon

won't use the door, only the window.
--Rumi. Translator: Coleman Barks

 

 

Tired of Speaking Sweetly


Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood"
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.


It happens all the time in heaven

It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth -
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
Lovers,
And women and women
Who give each other
Light,
Often will get down on their knees
And while so tenderly
Holding their lover's hand,
With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,
"My dear,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more
Kind?"
--Hafiz

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
He
Knows.

While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
Beautiful
Rowdy
Prisoners.

--Hafiz

 

Someone Should Start Laughing

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

How are you?

I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:

What is God?

If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,

If you think that the Sun and the Ocean

Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!

Someone should start wildly Laughing -
Now!

 

A Golden Compass
 
Forget every idea of right and wrong
Any classroom ever taught you
 
Because
An empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear
 
Are always the testimony
You have been completely fooled!
 
Turn your back on those
Who would imprison your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.
 
Come, join the honest company
Of the King’s beggars –
Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
And those astonishing fair courtesans
Who need Divine Love every night.
 
Come, join the courageous
Who have no choice
But to bet their entire world
That indeed,
Indeed, God is Real.
 
I will lead you into the Circle
Of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
Those playful royal rogues –
The ones you can trust for true guidance –
Who can aid you
In this Blessed Calamity of life.
 Hafiz,
Look at the Perfect One
At the Circle’s Center:
 
He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,
Beyond all that is Rational,
 
To show this dear world
 
That Everything,
Everything in Existence
Does point to God.

--Hafiz


 

What Happens?

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
Your eyes
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?


First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears


And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.


But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.


What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world


To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?


O the Beloved
Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions ~
Like Hafiz.


From: 'I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz' - Daniel Ladinsky



Dance, Dervish Dance


Dance, dervish dance----
bring the face of god before you.
only love can lift the heart up so high that its true color is restored by the sun!
see him near and clapping, that perfect one who fathers divine rhythm.
o dance, dervish dance,
and know you bring your master happiness whenever you smile.
last night so many tears took flight because of joy that the sky god crowded and complained
when i discovered god hiding again in my heart
and i could not cease to celebrate.
   hafiz


A poet


A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a cup
and raise it to nourish your
beautiful parched holy mouth

--Hafiz



Manic Screaming

We should make all spiritual talk simple today
God is trying sell you something but you dont want to buy

That is what your suffering is:
your fantastic haggling
your manic screaming
over
price.

--Hafiz


 

My Eyes So Soft

Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly

let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you

as few human or even divine ingredients can

Something missing in my heart tonight

has made my eyes so soft

my voice so tender

my need of god

absolutely clear.

--Hafiz



Constant Yearning



We are like lutes once held by God.

Being away from his warm body

Fully explains

This constant yearning.
---Hafiz


Look


Look as long as you can
at the friend you love
No matter whether that friend is moving away from you
or coming back toward you.
--Rumi




I didn't trust it for a moment,
but I drank it anyway,
the wine of my own poetry.
It gave me the daring to take hold
of the darkness and tear it down
and cut it into little pieces.  

--Lalla, Contemporary of Hafiz  

The way of love is not a subtle argument.
The door there is devastation.
Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling, they're given wings.
--Rumi


THE SILENT ARTICULATION OF A FACE

Love comes with a knife,
not some shy question,
and not with fears
for its reputation!

I say these things disinterestedly.
Accept them in kind.

Love is a madman, working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes,
running through the mountains, drinking poison,
and now quietly choosing annihilation.

A tiny spider tries to wrap an enormous wasp.
Think of the spiderweb woven across the cave
where Muhammad slept!

There are love stories,
and there is obliteration into love.

You've been walking the ocean's edge,
holding up your robes to keep them dry.
You must dive naked under and deeper under,
a thousand times deeper!

Love flows down!!
The ground submits to the sky and suffers
what comes.

Tell me, is the earth worse
for giving in like that?
Don't put blankets over the drum!
Open completely.
Let your spirit-ear listen to the green dome's passionate murmur.]

Let the cords of your robe be untied.
Shiver in this new love beyond all above and below.

The sun rises, but which way
does night go?

I have no more words. Let soul speak with the silent
articulation of a face.
--Rumi
A Barroom View of Love

I would not want all my words
To parade around this world
In pretty costumes,

So I will tell you something
Of the Barroom view of Love.

Love is grabbing hold of the Great Lion's mane
And wrestling and rolling deep into Existence

While the Beloved gets rough
And begins to maul you alive.

True Love, my dear,
Is putting an ironclad grip upon

The soft, swollen balls
Of a Divine Rogue Elephant

And
Not having the good fortune to Die!
--Hafiz   

My Sweet, Crushed Angel
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.
You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God's heart at all.
Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
To hear.
So what if the music has stopped for a while.
So what
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.
So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.
The mind and the body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,
But Hafiz knows the Beloved's eternal habits.
Have patience,
For He will not be able to resist your longing
For Long.
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.
You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
O my sweet crushed angel.
-- Hafiz
* * * I saw you dancing last night
on the roof of your house
all alone.
I felt your heart longing for the Friend.
I saw you whirling
beneath the soft bright rose
that hung from an invisible stem in the sky.
So I began to change into my best clothes
in hopes of joining you,
even though I live a thousand miles away.
And if you had spun like an immaculate sphere
just two more times,
then bowed again so sweetly to the east,
you would have found God and me
standing so near
and lifting you into our arms.
I saw you dancing last night
near the roof of this world
---Hafiz  
Dance when you're broken open.
Dance when you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her,
like a wave that crests into foam at the very top,
Begins.
Maybe you don't hear that tambourine,
or the tree leaves clapping time.
Close the ears on your head,
that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to see, and hear.
Music. Dance.
A brilliant city inside your soul!
--Rumi
 

Thanks to Cinza for sharing beautiful poems.