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The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door

The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door
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The great Persian poet Hafez is so beloved in Iran that almost every family there keeps his Divan close at hand. For some fifteen years, esteemed American poet and author Robert Bly has worked with the great Islamic scholar Leonard Lewisohn to produce this translation, which for the first time captures Hafez's nimbleness, his fierce humor, his astonishing range of thought, and his delight in love—enabling English speakers to fully appreciate the true genius of this master of the ghazal form, one of the greatest inventions in the history of poetry.

HarperCollins; October 2009
ISBN 9780061971099
Download in EPUB or secure PDF format
Excerpt

How Blame Has Been Helpful

We are drunken ecstatics who have let our hearts


Go to the wild. We are musty scholars


Of love, and old friends of the wine cup.

People have aimed the arrow of guilt a hundred times


In our direction. With the help of our Darling’s eyebrow,


Blame has been a blessing, and has opened all our work.

Oh, dark-spotted flower, you endured pain all night,


Waiting for the wine of dawn; I am that poppy


That was born with the burning spot of suffering.

If our Zoroastrian master has become disgusted


With our way of repentance, tell him, Go ahead,


Strain the wine. We are standing here with our heads down.

It is through you that our work goes on at all;


Oh, teacher of the way, please throw us a glance.


Let’s be clear about it; we have fallen off the path.

Don’t imagine us to be like the tulip, who is preoccupied


With its goblet shape; rather look at the dark


Spot of grief we have set on our scorched hearts.

"Hafez," you say, "what about all your intriguing colors


And ingenious fantasies?" Don’t take our language seriously.


We are a clean slate on which nothing has been written.

ISBNs
006197109X
9780061138843
9780061784880
9780061784897
9780061784903
9780061971099