THE nightingale with drops of his heart’s blood
Had nourished the red rose, then came a wind,
And catching at the boughs in envious mood,
A hundred thorns about his heart entwined.
Like to the parrot crunching sugar, good
Seemed the world to me who could not stay
The wind of Death that swept my hopes away.
Light of mine eyes and harvest of my heart,
And mine at least in changeless memory!
Ah, when he found it easy to depart,
He left the harder pilgrimage to me!
Oh Camel-driver, though the cordage start,
For God’s sake help me lift my fallen load,
And Pity be my comrade of the road!
My face is seamed with dust, mine eyes are wet.
Of dust and tears the turquoise firmament
Kneadeth the bricks for joy’s abode; and yet . . .
Alas, and weeping yet I make lament!
Because the moon her jealous glances set
Upon the bow-bent eyebrows of my moon,
He sought a lodging in the grave-too soon!
I had not castled, and the time is gone.
What shall I play? Upon the chequered floor
Of Night and Day, Death won the game-forlorn
And careless now, Hafiz can lose no more.
From: Teachings of Hafiz
Translated by Gertrude Bell