POETRY: Gabriel’s News, by Hafez

Gabriel's News Hafez

Come, come, this Pantheon of desire is set
On wobbly stones. Bring some wine,
For the joists of life are laid on the winds.

The man who can walk beneath the blue wheeling
Heavens and keep his clothes free of the dark
Of attachment–I’ll agree to be the slave of his high will.

What can I tell you? Last night at the tavern,
when I was drunk and ruined, what glad news
Did Gabriel bring from the invisible world?

Your perch is on the lote tree in Paradise,
Oh, wide-seeking hawk, what are you doing 

Crouching in this mop closet of calamity?

People on the battlements of Heaven are
Blowing the whistle to bring you back.
How does it happen that you tripped the noose?

I’ll give you this advice: Please learn it
And practice it well. These few words
Were given to me by my teacher on the Path.

Don’t expect this rotten world to be faithful
To you. She has you tight by the belt. She is an old hag
Who has already slept with a thousand lovers.

Don’t let the sorrow of the world bite your soul–
Don’t forget what I say. A traveler walking
The road taught me this subtlety about love:

Be content with what you have now;
Smooth out your forehead. The door of free will
Has never been open for you or for me.

The smile you see on the face of the rose does
Not imply promises given or kept. Let the nightingale
Lover cry. Cry on. This is a place of wailing.

You writers who write such bad poems, why
Do you envy Hafez so much? His grace of speech
That people love comes entirely from God.

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