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Hafiz i-Shirazi

Ghazl No. 10 from the Divan of Hafiz

His mop of hair tangled, sweating, laughing and drunk,

Shirt torn, singing poems, flask in hand,

His eyes spoiling for a fight, his lips mouthing “Alas!”

Last night at midnight he came and sat by my pillow.

He bent his head to my ear and said, sadly,

“O, my ancient lover, are you sleeping?”

The seeker to whom they give such a cup at dawn

Is an infidel to love if he will not worship the wine.

O hermit, go and do not quibble with those who drink the dregs,

For on the eve of creation this was all they gave to us.

What he poured in our cup we drank,

Whether the mead of Heaven, or the wine of drunkenness.

The cup’s smile and the wine boy’s knotted curl

Have broken many vows of chastity, like that of Hafiz.


A variation on the interpretation of E.T. Gray, Jr.
in The Green Sea of Heaven, White Cloud Press, 1995.

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