Hafez: Minstrel vs. Philosopher

The minstrel played a melody from the pain of love

that covered the philosopher’s eyelashes in blood


For years I pawned my book for wine,
      the rowdiness of the tavern was from my teaching and praying
See the goodness of the Magian Pīr:
       Whatever we drunks did was beautiful in his kind eye
Wash the whole book of our knowledge in wine
       for I saw that heaven despises the wise
O heart, if you know beauty, then seek it in idols
        as one who knows the science of sight has said
My heart moved around in every direction, like a compass
        while part of it stood in that circle, amazed
The minstrel played a melody from the pain of love
         that covered the philosopher’s eyelashes with blood
I blossomed with joy, for like a rose on the lips of a stream
         the shadow of that cypress’s tall stature fell on my head
My saffron Pīr did not allow any bad speech about the blue-clad
          otherwise, there would be many tales…
Hafez’s gold-plated, counterfeit heart could not be spent before him
          for this dealer could see all hidden defects


سال‌ها دفتر ما در گرو صهبا بود
رونق میکده از درس و دعای ما بود
نیکی پیر مغان بین که چو ما بدمستان
هر چه کردیم به چشم کرمش زیبا بود
دفتر دانش ما جمله بشویید به می
که فلک دیدم و در قصد دل دانا بود
از بتان آن طلب ار حسن شناسی ای دل
کاین کسی گفت که در علم نظر بینا بود
دل چو پرگار به هر سو دورانی می‌کرد
و اندر آن دایره سرگشته پابرجا بود
مطرب از درد محبت عملی می‌پرداخت
که حکیمان جهان را مژه خون پالا بود
می‌شکفتم ز طرب زان که چو گل بر لب جوی
بر سرم سایه آن سرو سهی بالا بود
پیر گلرنگ من اندر حق ازرق پوشان
رخصت خبث نداد ار نه حکایت‌ها بود
قلب اندوده حافظ بر او خرج نشد
کاین معامل به همه عیب نهان بینا بود






Ay, ay, ay, ay…
I am not
I am not from this land
nor do I know anyone.
He who does,
whoever has done good for my child
May God bless you



No soy,
no soy de esta tierra,
ni conozco a nadie.
El que lo haga.
Quien lo hiciera a bien para mi niño.
que Dios se lo pague.

Rumi-Just for me

You belong to me to me to me

جان منی جان منی جان من
You are my life my life my life essence
آن منی آن منی آن من
You belong to me to me to me alone
شاه منی لایق سودای من
You are my king, we deserve to mingle
قند منی لایق دندان من
You are my sweet sugar cube, deserving only of my teeth
نور منی باش در این چشم من
You are my light, remain here in my eyes
چشم من و چشمه حیوان من
My eyes and the very life giving fountain of my life
گل چو تو را دید به سوسن بگفت
When the flower saw you,
told the rose
سرو من آمد به گلستان من
The greatest of flowers has come to my garden
از دو پراکنده تو چونی بگو
Tell me why we are apart
Why are you not here with me?
زلف تو حال پریشان من
I grow sad when I don’t see the curves of your beautiful hair
ای رسن زلف تو پابند من
Your locks lock my feet
چاه زنخدان تو زندان من
As if trapped inside that famous well
دست فشان مست کجا میروی
Take my hand, where are you off to?
پیش من آ ای گل خندان من
My smiling flower, come to me !


Translation: Ali Arsanjani; from http://rumi-poetry.blogspot.com/


Compare with the right Rev. Al Green:


When it hurts so good…


Long as I live I’ll eat and drink
the sorrow of loving you
nor will I surrender it, this sorrow
to anyone when I am dead.
when Resurrection comes
I’ll walk forth with this raging thirst
still in my head

-‘Ayn al Qozat Hamadani

from The Drunken Universe.  Omega Publications, 1999.

Few capture the strange sweet pain of frustrated love like James Carr and Etta James:


My own humble attempts:

Just look at what happened when they split the atom
You’ll see what you started when you broke my heart
There’s naught below the sun like broken love’s sad drum
We all cry when she strikes, and shake when we’re apart
Lightning hides up in the clouds, and oceans flee their shores
Mountains fade like shadows before hopeless lovers’ sight
If they could break this bond between my heart and yours
The world would vanish in a brilliant flash of silent light


My epitaph is on your teeth
Your rose lips are my funeral wreath
It’s beautiful to die beneath
The tender blossoms of your speech
Your hair, my prayer mat and my shroud
Envelop me in your dark cloud
I know now why the crickets sing
The music of the falling leaves
So let the sun abandon me
Your shadow’s all the light I need


It can’t be helped, hearts must be broken
So let yours be broken wide
Open as the ocean sky
From its ruins, love’s bird will fly
Don’t let your heart get broken in
By bad habits and sadness
But rise above them both and try
To Love, and Love without a why


Addendum: Dinah Washington and Al Green
If you’ve tasted what they’re talking about, then you know. If you don’t, then God help you…