The Essence of Grace

by Hafiz

English version by Thomas Rain Crowe
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Now that I have raised the glass of pure wine to my lips,
The nightingale starts to sing!

Go to the librarian and ask for the book of this bird's songs, and
Then go out into the desert. Do you really need college to read this book?

Break all your ties with people who profess to teach, and learn from the
Pure Bird. From Pole to Pole the news of those sitting in quiet solitude is spreading.

On the front page of the newspaper, the alcoholic Chancellor of the University
Said: "Wine is illegal. It's even worse than living off charity."

It's not important whether we drink Gallo or Mouton Cadet: drink up!
And be happy, for whatever our Winebringer brings is the essence of grace.

The stories of the greed and fantasies of all the so-called "wise ones"
Remind me of the mat-weavers who tell tourists that each strand is a yarn of gold.

Hafiz says: The town's forger of false coins is also president of the city bank.
So keep quiet, and hoard life's subtleties. A good wine is kept for drinking, never sold.

-- from Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved: 100 Poems of Hafiz, by Thomas Rain Crowe

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The Essence of Grace