Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hafiz

Back in my UU days, I was introduced to the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz by my friend Ray. He would come up to me at church and start quoting these wild and wonderful love poems about God.

Hafiz had a close friendship with God. He called him by various, affectionate, nicknames. He wrote love poetry to God. He chronicled his relationship over the years in lyrical poems that draw the reader, too, into a deeper intimacy.

Once, Ray and I did a lay led service that was centered around Hafiz poems. I still have the bulletin from that day! We stood together in the chancel and read poems of love. They were funny, sexy, deeply moving.

If you haven't yet encountered Hafiz, I urge you to check him out. He was so madly in love with God you can't help but be moved.

Here is an example from the book The Gift translated by Daniel Ladinski:


The Sun Never Says


Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.

1 comment:

Christian Rideout said...

Hafiz is far more earthy than Rumi. You really sense that when he talks about wine and beautiful Shirazi maidens he is really talking about wine and beautiful Shirazi maidens. The wine is wine, not a metaphor for spiritual intoxication, and the maidens, well, they are maidens. Goethe read Hafiz and produced the West-Ostlicher Divan as an homage. Schubert set some of Goethe's poems to ethereal song.