Inspiration from Hafiz

Hafiz tomb day
The shrine of the tomb of Hafiz, Shiraz.

The other day I came across this poem by the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz. The words jumped off the page and all of a sudden I found myself crying. Since then I’ve been rereading it, and the words are never far from my mind. Although it’s abstract and mystical, I find that it accesses something that’s universal and profound. Hm, maybe that’s why Hafiz is still so well loved today.

Man reading at shrine

In the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, where Hafiz lived, his majestic shrine is a favorite tourist destination and a sanctuary for those seeking solace. It’s always buzzing with visitors.

Hafiz shrine sunsetI wasn’t prepared for its beauty, or the feeling of serenity and comfort that it exudes. I didn’t want to leave, I just wanted to stay and soak up the good vibrations. I stayed into the evening, so I got to see it glowing softly at sunset, when for me it became even more magical. Here is the poem, as interpreted by the respected Hafiz translator Daniel Ladinsky.

Your Mother and My Mother, by Hafiz

~

Fear is the cheapest room in the house.

I would like to see you living

In better conditions,

~

For your mother and my mother

Were friends.

~

I know the Innkeeper

In this part of the universe.

Get some rest tonight,

Come to my verse again tomorrow.

We’ll go speak to the Friend together.

~

I should not make any promises right now,

But I know if you

Pray

Somewhere in this world–

Something good will happen.

~

God wants to see

More love and playfulness in your eyes

For that is your greatest witness to Him.

~

Your soul and my soul

Once sat together in the Beloved’s womb

Playing footsie.

~

Your heart and my heart

Are very, very old

Friends.

9 thoughts on “Inspiration from Hafiz

  1. Wonderful. I only knew the first verse before. Buddhism has a similar concept that we have all been each other’s mothers previously so we should be compassionate to all. So interesting how people come up with the same ideas across cultures. Thanks for sharing your inspiration!

  2. HI Leah that’s so interesting. I was still trying to figure out the “mothers” part of the poem, thank you for giving me this insight!

  3. Beautiful…its very powerful poem. especially when you reflect on the words in a beautiful place like the solace Shrine in your picture. I like it.

  4. “….if you pray, somewhere in this world–something good will happen.”

    It’s so true, isn’t it? Sometimes we’re disappointed that what we asked for in a prayer wasn’t granted. But, we forget that our wishes may have brought good fortune to someone else.

    Lovely! These pics make me homesick.

    1. Hey Coco! Thanks for your comment. You just inspired me to read the poem again. There is so much meaning in those few lines, and I find the idea of prayers having an unknown happy result so hopeful and life affirming.

  5. The city of Shiraz has a long background in viticulture. The images as well as poem are really inspiring undoubtedly. I would certainly like to some day check out and really feel the amazing power of locations like these. This is definitely gorgeous! Thank you for publishing this. I enjoy the rhyme, I’m mosting likely to keep that in my heart.

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