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The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door

Thirty Poems of Hafez

The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door by Robert Bly
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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
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Title: The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door
Author: Robert Bly; Leonard Lewisohn

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.