It Is Time to Wake Up!

by Hafiz

English version by Thomas Rain Crowe
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Hey you, parrot! speaking in riddles,
Sugar wouldn't melt in your mouth!

Clear your head so your heart will be happy,
And then mimic the words of the Beloved!

To everyone who walks by, you have given mixed messages;
For God's sake, tell us something we don't know.

O Winebringer, throw some of Your best wine in our face,
For it is time to wake up!

What chord was it last night that the Minstrel played
That caused the drunk and the pious both to dance?

What drug did You put in their cups
That caused them to lose both their hats and their heads?

Not even to Alexander the Great would Your lovers give the Wine of Life;
He hadn't the power or the gold for that price.

Today, treason is the currency of the world,
But compared with Love, even alchemy has lost its flash.

Come, and listen to our stories of pain;
Even with few words, the truth is still there.

O Lord, don't tell our secrets to those who don't drink;
One cannot give a picture on the wall Your enlightened touch.

To a millionaire, money is the standard of the world;
Hafiz says: O beggars, I have exchanged all my money for these poems!

-- from Drunk on the Wine of Beloved: 100 Poems of Hafiz, by Thomas Rain Crowe

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/ Image by Hamed Saber /

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Something today by the great Persian -- that is, Iranian -- poet, Hafiz, in honor of the resurgence of the Green Revolution once again taking place in Iran.

O Winebringer, throw some of Your best wine in our face,
For it is time to wake up!

There are many ways to wake up, individually and collectively.

This is a poem that might be tempting to rush through, reading it, saying this or that image is pretty, and then moving on with the day. But stop. Take a few moments to really read it. Spend a little time with the lines. There is so much to be found in each couplet...

Remember what I've said about wine representing the bliss of spiritual union in Sufi poetry.

Clear your head so your heart will be happy,
And then mimic the words of the Beloved!

I've been rereading some things I've written in the past about the power of poetry. I thought they might be worth sharing again...

Sacred experience, truth, is too all-encompasing, too immense for descriptive prose. The language of prose attempts to box in meaning, whereas poetry allows meaning to gather. The elastic nature of poetry is better suited to the sacred experience, relaying the truth of the experience without attempting to circumscribe it. This is why mystics in every culture write poetry.

Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drum beats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.

Recommended Books: Hafiz

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia, with Lectures by Inayat Khan
More Books >>

It Is Time to Wake