A New World

by Hafiz

English version by Haleh Pourafzal and Roger Montgomery
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Let's offer flowers, pour a cup of libation,
split open the skies and start anew on creation.

If the forces of grief invade our lovers' veins,
cupbearer and I will wash away this temptation.

With rose water we'll mellow crimson wine's bitter cup;
we'll sugar the fire to sweeten smoke's emanation.

Take this fine lyre, musician, strike up a love song;
let's dance, sing all night, go wild in celebration.

As dust, O West Wind, let us rise to the Heavens,
floating free in Creator's glow of elation.

If mind desires to return while heart cries to stay,
here's a quarrel for love's deliberation.

Alas, these words and songs go for naught in this land;
come, Hafez, let's create a new generation.

-- from The Spiritual Wisdom of Hafez: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love, by Haleh Pourafzal / Roger Montgomery

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

It's been far too long since we last had a selection by Hafiz, so today... A New World.

split open the skies and start anew on creation.

The lines of this poem read like lovely poetic embellishments, but there is more going on here than ecstatic wordplay. Beneath the poetry, Hafiz is using precise esoteric language. The "rose" of the rose water. A "fire" that is also sweet. Becoming as egoless as dust before the West Wind... Meanings to contemplate and explore within.

If mind desires to return while heart cries to stay,
here's a quarrel for love's deliberation.


I particularly like these lines. The "mind" Hafiz is talking about is the conceptualizing, projecting mind. It is this mind that must be absent (or stilled) before we can see reality directly. When we do this, our sense of self shifts. We no longer imagine ourselves to be the little ego, we find ourselves centered deeply at home within the heart. For the first time we fully recognize the heart as being present.

But -- if the mind desires to return once we have discovered the presence of the heart, well, that's a dilemma... "a quarrel of love's deliberation."

come, Hafez, let's create a new generation.



Recommended Books: Hafiz

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia, with Lectures by Inayat Khan
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A New World