I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God's palm
As I move through the earth's

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.

I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God's body
That is right beneath your
Own foot

As I
Dance with
Precious life

                                                                -- Hafez, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Iranians say that there are two books in every home -- the Quran, and the poems of Hafez. (Sometimes anglicized as Hafiz, but Hafez is closer to the way Iranians pronounce the name.) I love Sufi poetry -- the assumption that God does not require us to overlook the delights of this world is very refreshing to a former Catholic schoolgirl -- so paying my respects at Hafez's tomb was one of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip. (And he was our second Sufi poet of the day -- we visited the tomb of Sa'di earlier.)

First we sat under the trees in the cafe, and ate Shirazi faloodeh -- strands of starch that look like vermicelli noodles, frozen and doused with lip-puckeringly tart lime juice. We read poems out loud while we ate (I read the poem above). It was hot, and we'd been dashing from one place to another for hours, trying to see all of Shiraz in one day, and those few moments in the shade, eating and laughing and talking about poetry, were a lovely respite.

Hafez would have approved.

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