What memories! I once lived on
the street that you lived on,
And to my eyes how bright the dust
before your doorway shone!
We were a lily and a rose:
our talk was then so pure
That what was hidden in your heart
and what I said were one!
And when our hearts discoursed
with Wisdom’s ancient words,
Love’s commentary solved each crux
within our lexicon.
I told my heart that I would never be
without my friend;
But when our efforts fail, and hearts
Are weak, what can be done?
Last night, for old times’ sake, I saw
the place where we once drank;
A cask was lying there, its lees
like blood; mud was its bung.
How much I wandered, asking why
the pain of parting came –
But Reason was a useless judge,
and answers? He had none.
And though it’s true the turquoise seal
of Bu Es’haq shone brightly,
His splendid kingdom and his reign
were all too quickly gone.
Hafez, you’ve seen a strutting partridge
whose cry sounds like a laugh –
He’s careless of the hawk’s sharp claws
by which he’ll be undone.
Copyright © 2013 by Hafez; Jahan Malek Khatun; Obayd-e Zakani; Translated by Dick Davis. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.