Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Image of thy love," an excerpt from Hafiz

In some of my reading about Rumi, I have come across another great poet and Sufi, Shamsuddin Muhammad, who is known simply as Hafiz. He lived during the 1300s in the city of Shiraz and has legendary status among Persian poets and Sufi scholars.

His poems about love are suffused with mystical undertones and even the English translations, despite their many limitations, give one a sense of how beautiful they must be in the original language.

Here is an excerpt from one of his ghazals, translated by William Henry Lowe:

By the soul of the Master, and time-honoured truth, and the
faithful covenant
[I swear] that the companion of my morning hour is prayer
for thy welfare

My tears, which have surpassed the flood of Noah,
From the tablet of my breast have been unable to wash the
image of thy love

Transact some business, and buy this broken heart,
For in its broken state, it is worth a hundred thousand whole

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