Hafez (also known as Hafiz ) is one of our favorite mystical Sufi poets …
We remember his work with five of our favorite Hafez poems from one of his best known works, The Divan of Hafez [available as a FREE ebook here ] …
I Cease Not From Desire
I CEASE not from desire till my desire
Is satisfied ; or let my mouth attain
My love’s red mouth, or let my soul expire.
Sighed from those lips that sought her lips in vain.
Others may find another love as fair ;
Upon her threshold I have laid my head,
The dust shall cover me, still lying there,
When from my body life and love have fled.
My soul is on my lips ready to fly.
But grief beats in my heart and will not cease.
Because not once, not once before I die,
Will her sweet lips give all my longing peace.
My breath is narrowed down to one long sigh
For a red mouth that burns my thoughts like fire ;
When will that mouth draw near and make reply
To one whose life is straitened with desire ?
When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet :
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee ;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet !
Ah, come, Beloved ! for the meadows wait
Thy coming, and the thorn bears flowers instead
Of thorns, the cypress fruit, and desolate
Bare winter from before thy steps has fled.
Hoping within some garden ground to find
A red rose soft and sweet as thy soft cheek,
Through every meadow blows the western wind.
Through every garden he is fain to seek.
Reveal thy face ! that the whole world may be
Bewildered by thy radiant loveliness ;
The cry of man and woman comes to thee,
Open thy lips and comfort their distress !
Each curling lock of thy luxuriant hair
Breaks into barbed hooks to catch my heart,
My broken heart is wounded everywhere
With countless wounds from which the red drops start.
Yet when sad lovers meet and tell their sighs,
Not without praise shall Hafiz’ name be said,
Not without tears, in those pale companies
Where joy has been forgot and hope has fled.
*** What are some of your favorite Hafez poems ?
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com