The Pearl on the Ocean Floor

by Hafiz

English version by Rober Bly
Original Language Persian/Farsi

We have turned the face of our dawn studies toward the drunkard's road.
The harvest of our prayers we've turned toward the granary of the ecstatic soul.

The fire toward which we have turned our face is so intense
It would set fire to the straw harvest of a hundred reasonable men.

The Sultan of Pre-Eternity gave us the casket of love's grief as a gift;
Therefore we have turned our sorrow toward this dilapidated traveller's cabin that we call "the world."

From now on I will leave no doors in my heart open for love of beautiful creatures;
I have turned and set the seal of divine lips on the door of this house.

It's time to turn away from make-believe under our robes patched so many times.
The foundation for our work is an intelligence that sees through all these games.

We have turned our face to the pearl lying on the ocean floor.
So why then should we worry if this wobbly old boat keeps going or not?

We turn to the intellectuals and call them parasites of reason;
Thank God they are like true lovers faithless and without heart.

The Sufis have settled for a fantasy, and Hafez is no different.
How far out of reach our goals, and how weak our wills are!

-- from The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures, Edited by Robert Bly

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The Pearl on the