Apr 08 2011

Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky) – Today

Published by at 9:01 am under Poetry

Today
by Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

I
Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through the earth’s
Marketplace
Today.

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.

I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath your
Own foot

As I
Dance with
Precious life
Today.

— from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, by Daniel Ladinsky


/ Photo by snackateria /

People sometimes wonder why I don’t feature more of Hafiz’s poetry from Daniel Ladinsky’s book, The Gift. They are such delightful, ecstatic, irreverent poems that have inspired so many people…

Ladinsky’s books put me in an awkward spot. I really like the poetry from Ladinsky’s books… but, well, they aren’t actually by Hafiz. His collection of poetry entitled “The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master” actually contains no lines of poetry written by the great Sufi poet Hafiz!

Daniel Ladinsky seems to acknowledge this in his introduction to the book, when he writes, “I feel my relationship to Hafiz defies all reason… I had an astounding dream in which I saw Hafiz as an Infinite Fountaining Sun (I saw him as God), who sang hundreds of lines of his poetry to me in English, asking me to give that message to ‘my artists and seekers.’”

You might say that Ladinsky’s poetry is “inspired by” Hafiz. Or, if you prefer a broader interpretation, you could say Ladinsky channels Hafiz. But his “translations” are not the historical writings of Hafiz. From the more limited scholar’s definition, these are poems by Daniel Ladinsky, not Hafiz.

So here’s what I do: I enjoy Ladinsky’s playful, profound poetry, but I look to other books to savor the historical poetry of Hafiz that Sufis and seekers have delighted in for centuries.

For some English versions of the historical Hafiz poetry, click here.

…Still, you have to love rogue-poems like this, don’t you?

Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

US (1945? – )
Muslim / Sufi

More poetry by Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky)

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky) – Today”

  1. ahmed41on 08 Apr 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Yes, you are quite right, many poets write things inspired by Hafiz-e Shirazi .Omar Khayyam’s rubaiyat also have been a source of great inspiration to other.

    No harm done, as long as the
    poet acknowledges it frankly.

    These PERSIAN language translated poems have a greater impact on some of us,
    if the original Persian version of the poem is displayed along-side !!

    regards.

    ahmed41

  2. aparrnaon 09 Apr 2011 at 3:55 am

    Awww……. i so totally love these rogue poems by Daniel L/ Hafiz:
    What
    Would
    Happen if God leaned down

    And gave you a full wet
    Kiss?

    Hafiz
    Doesn’t mind answering astronomical questions
    Like that:

    You would surely start
    Reciting all day, inebriated,

    Rogue-poems
    Like
    This.

  3. Rena Navonon 11 Apr 2011 at 6:32 am

    I’m in a new realm with this poem. It suggests something of the fragility of life, the chances we take as we cross the world created by a God who is everywhere and makes our progress precious but problematic. A market is full of all kinds of things, not everything we want to buy, a place that can become noisy, crowded, dirty and suddenly empty after all the buying is over. Why mention God in the marketplace when we regard him as holy? Why not seek him out in higher, sanctimonious heights? The fragility I mention first seems out of place in a place that often intimidates and even frightens me a bit.

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