In the street of wineshops, when

by Fakhruddin Iraqi

English version by William Chittick and Peter Lamborn Wilson
Original Language Persian/Farsi

In the street of wineshops, when
     should I pray? since my
drunkenness and sobriety alike
     are all the same as prayer.
There, no one accepts the coin
     of righteousness, piety and self-denial:
The only good currency in that street
     is beggary.
None but the drunkard knows
     the tavern's secrets --
how could the sober unveil
     the mysteries of that street?
As soon as I met those
     cunning haunters of the wineshop
I realized that other work than theirs
     is nothing but a fable.
Do you want a guided tour
     of the Mecca of Love?
Come, sit in the tavern, for the trip
     to Arabia is long and tedious.
They refused me entrance at first
     at the wineshop
so I went to the monastery
     and found an open door -- but
I heard a voice from within the tavern
     crying, "'Iraqi!
Open the door for yourself, the gates
     of drunkenness are always agape!"

-- from Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes (Classics of Western Spirituality) , Translated by William Chittick / Translated by Nasr Seyyed Hossein

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Recommended Books: Fakhruddin Iraqi

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes (Classics of Western Spirituality) Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition

In the street of