For years, to the red wine, my heart was bound
The Tavern became alive with my prayer and my sound.
See the Old Magi’s goodness, with us, the drunks,
Saw whatever we did, in everyone beauty had found.
Wash away all our knowledge with red wine,
Firmaments, themselves, the knowing minds hound.
Seek that from idols, O knowing heart,
Said the one whose insights, his knowledge crowned.
My heart, like a compass, goes round and round,
I’m lost in that circle, with foot firmly on the ground.
Minstrel did what he did from pain of Love,
Lashes of wise-of-the-world in their bloody tears have drowned.
With joy my heart bloomed, like that flower by the stream
Under the shade of that tall spruce, myself, I found.
My colorful wise Master, in my dealings with the black robes,
My meanness checked and bound, else my stories would astound.
Hafiz’s cloudy heart in this trade was not spent,
This merchant saw and heard every hidden sight and sound.

Translation by: Shariar Shariar

Note. Hafiz of Shiraz wrote over 500 Ghazals. I came across this extract in a piece by Gertrude Bell who translated Hafiz (1897) and did much to bring him to Western opinion. Gertrude Bell, an extraordinary woman, was heavily involved in the creation of modern day Iraq. By the way, Hafiz (in another context) is a term meaning one who has completely memorized the Qu’ran.

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