How can I see the splendor of the moon

by Bibi Hayati

English version by Aliki Barnstone
Original Language Persian/Farsi

How can I see the splendor of the moon
If his face shines over my heart,
Flaming like the sun?

The Turks in his eyes charge through my soul,
While untrue curling hair
Defeats faith.

Yet if he lifted the veil from his face,
The world would be undone,
The universe astounded.

He walks through the garden
With grace, erect,
His exquisite posture mocking even the straight cypresses.

He charges, riding his gnostic horse
Into the holy space of divinity,
The sacred sphere.

Tonight the Saki with its red-stained ruby lips
Pours wine for the luxury of every drunk,
And sates every reveler's taste.

As Hayati has drunk his ecstasy,
Her soul now satisfied by the wine of his pure heart,
How can she drink any other nectar?

-- from The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry, Edited by Aliki Barnstone

<<Previous Poem | More Poems by Bibi Hayati | Next Poem >>

/ Image by jenny downing /

View All Poems by Bibi Hayati

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Because she changes, the moon draws our attention. But how difficult is it to pause and truly recognize the radiant beauty of the steady sun? Our certainty of the sun, the all-permeating nature of its light too often means we don't see it at all...

In this poem, the "splendor of the moon" can be understood to represent creation. The moon, in its waxing and waning cycles, its changeability, expresses the most glorious or most brilliant aspects of the manifest world. And, in its femininity, the moon also represents the poet herself, her soul.

Unlike the fluctuating light of the moon, the sun's light is steady, constant, overpowering of all other light; in fact, it is the source of all other light, including the moon's. The masculine sun represents the Beloved to the feminine soul. In this poem, the sun is God.

When the sun of God's face shines over her heart, all of creation and all of herself is consumed in its flaming light. She sees nothing but the light of God, feeling that presence upon her heart.

And, as with so many sacred poems, especially within the Sufi tradition, wine here is the mystical drink. Bibi Hayati refers to the wine as having come from "his" (the Beloved's, God's) pure heart.

It is the true nectar. It flows in abundance. What else can satisfy?

Recommended Books: Bibi Hayati

The Shambhala Anthology of Women's Spiritual Poetry The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures

How can I see the