The Peacock

Until your hair falls through the fingers of the breeze,
My yearning heart lies torn apart with grief.

Black as sorcery, your magic eyes
Render this existence an illusion.

The dusky mole encircled by your curls,
Is like the ink-drop falling in the curve of J,

And wafting tresses in the perfect garden of your face,
Drop like a peacock falling into paradise.

My soul searches for the comfort of a glance,
Light as the dust arising from your path.

Unlike the dust, this earthly body stumbles,
Failing at your threshold, falling fast.

Your shadow falls across my frame,
Like the breath of Jesus over withered bones.

And those who turn to Mecca as their only haven,
Now at the knowledge of your lips tumble at the tavern door.

O precious love, the suffering of your absence and lost Hafez
Fell and fused together with the ancient pact.

Translation J.P. (Reprinted with permission)


Burning Butterfly

Heaven, show me your redemptive fire,
My soul is burning, tell me
Whose is the heart you rescue, whose?

My life and faith are crumbling fast,
And all the while you rest
Enfolded on whose breast, whose?

My mouth thirsts for the red wine of your lips,
Comforter of souls, wish fulfiller,
Whose cup are you filling, whose?

O fellowship of that blissful flame,
Pray call on God to tell me
Whose is the burning butterfly, whose?

Nations evoke you in their incantations,
Reckless of your unrevealing heart,
Yet whose is the prayer that is preferred, whose?

Heaven, light of the moon, noble brow of Venus,
Whose is that perfect pearl, -
The jewel beyond compare, whose?

Ah, I sigh for mad forsaken Hafez,
- And in a whispered smile I hear
‘Whose madman is he, whose?’

Hafez of Shiraz.  Poem 68
Translation J.P. (Reprinted with permission)


Falcon of the Path

My wasted life slips by in foolish vanity,
O youth fill my cup with the comfort of old age.

The falcons of the path repose content as flies,
Such is the sweetness of this world.

Once I mixed with the slaves of the gate,
‘O abject lover mine,’ I heard,

‘When all is said and done,
What have you gained?

Despite your bleeding heart
Your perfumed words have bought you happy fame.

But I have seen the lightning flash from Sinai,
And I can bring you brands of burning bush.

The caravan has left you
Sleeping in the wilderness.

How many bells must ring
To rouse you from your daze?

Pity a bird like you
Imprisoned in a cage.

Spread your wings and sing
From the Tree of Paradise.’

I reach for the hem of my lover,
In hope of a moment there.

I burn my soul on the censer,
In search of that scented air.

How far must Hafez seek to find your essence?
May heaven ease the path to you, my Beloved.

Translation J.P. (Reprinted with permission)