“Ghazal 374, Hafiz” Translated by Shahriar Shahriari

I met Jaleh Novini at Iran’s First International Children’s Book Festival. She has translated many books from English into Persian. She writes,“Hafiz is my favorite poet. You may not believe me, but I speak with him though his poems, I ask him questions and he answers me. But he answers others, too—everyone in Iran turns to Hafiz for advice. After these many years since his death, he is still alive.”

Ghazal 374, Hafiz

Rose petals let us scatter
And fill the cup with red wine
The firmaments let us shatter
And come with a new design

If sorrow’s soldiers incite
To shed lovers’ blood tonight
With beloved I will unite
And his foundations malign

Pour the red wine with control
Like rose-water into the bowl
While fragrant breeze will roll
And sweet incense refine

With a harp on display
We ask the players to play
While clapping we sing and say
And dancing, our heads decline

Blow our dust O gentle breeze
And throw at the Master’s knees
The Good King has the keys
While we glance at the sign

One boasts & brags with his mind
One weaves talks of idle kind
All the judgment that we find
Let the Judge weigh and define

If Eden is what you need
To the tavern let us speed
The jug of wine let us heed
And Paradise will be thine

Merry songs and fair speech
In Shiraz they do not teach
Another land let us reach
Hafiz, and then we shine.

About the Poet

Shams al-Din Mohammad Hafiz was a fourteenth-century Persian lyric poet from Shiraz whose verses are widely known in Iran and other parts of the Persian-speaking world, and quoted orally to this day. His poems often deal with sincere faith and the exposure of hypocrisy. Hafiz wrote almost exclusively in the ghazal form. The poet’s tomb in the Musalla Garden in Shiraz is popular with both Iranians and tourists alike.