For Years My Heart Inquired of Me

For years my heart inquired of me
Where Jamshid’s sacred cup might be,
And what was in its own possession
It asked from strangers, constantly;
Begging the pearl that’s slipped its shell
From lost souls wandering by the sea.

Last night I took my troubles to
The Magian sage whose keen eyes see
A hundred answers in the wine
Whose cup he, laughing, showed to me.
I questioned him, “When was this cup
That shows the world’s reality

Handed to you?” He said, “The day
Heaven’s vault of lapis lazuli
Was raised, and marvelous things took place
By Intellect’s divine decree,
And Moses’ miracles were made
And Sameri’s apostasy.”

He added then, “That friend they hanged
High on the looming gallows tree—
His sin was that he spoke of things
Which should be pondered secretly,
The page of truth his heart enclosed
Was annotated publicly.

But if the Holy Ghost once more
Should lend his aid to us we’d see
Others perform what Jesus did—
Since in his heartsick anguish he
Was unaware that God was there
And called His name out ceaselessly.”

I asked him next, “And beauties’ curls
That tumble down so sinuously,
What is their meaning? Whence do they come?”
“Hafez,” the sage replied to me,
“It’s your distracted, lovelorn heart
That asks these questions constantly.”

By Hafiz, 1300’s
Translate By Dick Davis

Hafiz and Rumi are perhaps Persia’s most famous poets. I enjoy Hafiz for his laughing conversatons with God. You might enjoy this link to a delightful reading of two other Hafiz poems.

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