Jun 07 2019

Hafiz – Spring and all its flowers

Published by at 6:16 am under Poetry

Spring and all its flowers
by Hafiz

English version by Homayun Taba & Marguerite Theophil

Spring and all its flowers
      now joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for celebration, not for lying low;
You too — weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.

The Sabaa wind arrives;
      and in deep resonance, the flower
      passionately rips open its garments,
      thrusting itself from itself.

The Way of Truth, learn from the clarity of water,
Learn freedom from the spreading grass.

Pay close attention to the artistry of the Sabaa wind,
that wafts in pollen from afar,
And ripples the beautiful tresses
      of the fields of hyacinth flowers.

From the privacy of the harem, the virgin bud slips out,
      revealing herself under the morning star,
branding your heart and your faith
      with beauty.

And frenzied bulbul flies madly out of the House of Sadness
      to unite with the flowers;
its love-crazed cry like a thousand-trumpet blast.

Hafez says, and the experienced old ones concur:

All you really need
      is to tell those Stories
      of the Fair Ones and the Goblet of Wine.


/ Image by Ignacio Ferre Pérez /

I know it is a few days late, but I want to wish Eid Mubarak to all of my Muslim friends. I hope your Ramadan brought inspiration and renewal…

Spring and all its flowers
      now joyously break their vow of silence.

Something by the great Sufi poet Hafez in honor of spring and Norooz, the Persian New Year.

You too — weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.

Spring has something to teach us about living with selfless exuberance.

The Sabaa wind arrives;
      and in deep resonance, the flower
      passionately rips open its garments,
      thrusting itself from itself.

The Sabaa is a wind at sunrise coming from the East. Traditionally, lovers confide their secrets to the Sabaa. Spiritual poets associate the Sabaa with the breath of the Beloved; coming from the East, it is the first whisper of daylight, of spiritual enlightenment. It carries the perfumed promise of the new day. It is a messenger of awakening, subtle, playful, revealing new beauty.

I have also been told that sabaa means seven, so the Sabaa is the seventh wind, the wind of paradise. It is the seventh and final wind that causes the flower to shed its petals, its material garments in order to release its inner glory.

Pay close attention to the artistry of the Sabaa wind,
that wafts in pollen from afar,
And ripples the beautiful tresses
      of the fields of hyacinth flowers.

A reference to “beautiful tresses” of hair is often used in Sufi poetry to suggest the enticing beauty of the Beloved. The beauty of God is embodied in the field of hyacinth flowers, in the flowering earth.

The bulbul is a songbird, a nightingale.

And frenzied bulbul flies madly out of the House of Sadness
      to unite with the flowers;
its love-crazed cry like a thousand-trumpet blast.

The bulbul’s song in the garden aches with love for the flower’s beauty. But, to the spiritually minded, to the lover, this “House of Sadness” is sought, not avoided, for yearning becomes union. Then the House of Sadness becomes the House of Revelry, where the wine of bliss flows and stories find their fulfillment.

And a note about that final reference to wine. Why do so many Sufi poets write in praise of wine?

Sacred poetry traditions from all over the world compare ecstatic union with drunkenness. The wine described is real, but not the wine most people think of. In states of deep spiritual communion, a subtle flowing substance is sensed upon the palette. Its a taste of ethereal sweetness can be compared with wine or honey. There is a sensation of drinking and a warming of the heart. The attention blissfully turns inward, the eyelids grow pleasantly heavy and the gaze may become unfocused. A giddy smile naturally blooms for no apparent reason. When the ecstasy comes on strongly, the body can tremble, sometimes the consciousness even leaves the body.

With these experiences, it not only makes sense for mystics to use the language of wine, observers sometimes mistake this state for actual drunkenness.

The Way of Truth, learn from the clarity of water,
Learn freedom from the spreading grass.

I hope you have a beautiful spring weekend!


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
More Books >>


Hafiz

Iran/Persia (1320 – 1389) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

If you are looking for versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky, click here.

More poetry by Hafiz

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Hafiz – Spring and all its flowers”

  1. martinaon 07 Jun 2019 at 7:16 am

    Dear Ivan,
    I love this poem and your lovely and gentle explanatory notes. I had not completely understood the references to the Sabaa before. I also love how carefully you portray that mystical drunkenness of the soul, rather than the body. Wonderful images, and deeply inviting us into spring! Thank you! martina

  2. marrobon 08 Jun 2019 at 4:12 am

    Dear Ivan,

    Here in the north, it’s early morning, the breezes, the birdsong,
    the lilacs & apple blossoms, at last! This enchanting Hafez poem & your
    expanding words on the meaning allow one to breathe it in more
    deeply. I’m surrounded by contentment & gratitude. A blessed spring
    weekend to you too. Thank you.

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