HAFIZ: Tripping Over Joy



Khwāja Shamsu d-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī 
(Persian: خواجه شمس‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی‎), known by his pen name Hāfez (1325/1326–1389/1390), was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works composed of series of Persian poetry (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most Persian speakers in Iran, as well as elsewhere in the world, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-fourteenth century Persian writing more than any other author.


Themes of his ghazals are the beloved, faith, and exposing hypocrisy. His influence in the lives of Iranians can be found in "Hafez readings" (fāl-e hāfez, Persian: فال حافظ‎), frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art and Persian calligraphy. His tomb in Shiraz is visited often. Adaptations, imitations and translations of Hafez' poems exist in all major languages.



Daniel Ladinsky (born 1948) is an American poet, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Over a twenty year period he spent extensive time in a spiritual community in western India, where he worked in a rural clinic free to the poor, and lived with the intimate disciples and family of Meher Baba. In introductions to his Hafiz poetry, Ladinsky notes that he offers interpretations and renderings of the poet, rather than literal or scholarly translations. His work is based on conveying and being "faithful to the living spirit" of Hafiz as well as other mystic poets.




"What is the difference

between your experience of existence
and that of a saint?

The saint knows

that the spiritual path
is a sublime chess game with God
and that the Beloved
has just made such a fantastic move
that the saint is now continually
tripping over joy
and bursting out in laughter
and saying, "I surrender!"

Whereas, my dear,

I am afraid you still think
you have a thousand serious moves."

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