You the dawn and I
the candle of the night retreat!
Smile as you watch me
surrender my soul

Your hair has stained my heart
so deep, my tomb
will be a bed of violets
when I pass away

I open my eye to you
on the threshold of hope
that you’ll give me one more glance
as you cast me from your vision

Can’t thank you enough,
sorrows, bless you!
When I was alone
you were by my side

I am the slave of the pupil
of my eye. From an obsidian heart,
while I count the wounds of love,
it launches a thousand tears

This idol of ours displays her splendor
to every gaze, but the look
I cast from every side
nobody sees

If she like the breeze slips longing
past the grave of Hafez,
from the heart of the chamber
I’ll tear the shroud

– Hafez

translated by Michael Sells


For years my heart inquired of me
                   Where Jamshid’s sacred cup might be,
And what was in its own possession
                   It asked from strangers, constantly;
Begging the pearl that’s slipped its shell
                   From lost souls wandering by the sea.
Last night I took my troubles to
                   The Magian sage whose keen eyes see
A hundred answers in the wine
                   Whose cup he, laughing, showed to me.
I questioned him, “When was this cup
                   That shows the world’s reality
Handed to you?” He said, “The day
                   Heaven’s vault of lapis lazuli
Was raised, and marvelous things took place
                   By Intellect’s divine decree,
And Moses’ miracles were made
                   And Sameri’s apostasy.”
He added then, “That friend they hanged   
                   High on the looming gallows tree—
His sin was that he spoke of things
                   Which should be pondered secretly,
The page of truth his heart enclosed
                   Was annotated publicly.
But if the Holy Ghost once more
                   Should lend his aid to us we’d see
Others perform what Jesus did—
                   Since in his heartsick anguish he
Was unaware that God was there
                   And called His name out ceaselessly.”
I asked him next, “And beauties’ curls
                   That tumble down so sinuously,
What is their meaning? Whence do they come?”
                   “Hafez,” the sage replied to me,
“It’s your distracted, lovelorn heart
                   That asks these questions constantly.”
translated by Dick Davis