Jump to your feet!

You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:

Take your spouse or lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.

Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants –
Why not let them get drunk and wild!

Let’s toast
Every rung we’ve climbed on Evolution’s ladder.
Whisper, “I love you! I love you!”
To the whole mad world.

Let’s stop reading about God –
We will never understand Him.

Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!

– Daniel Ladinsky in “I Heard God Laughing – renderings of Hafiz”

A lovely poem, but as it turns out not by Hafiz. See the comments.


~ by scalambra on August 27, 2011.

2 Responses to “Jump to your feet!”

  1. That’s an inspiring poem and must be a very modern translation. Sometimes being in the spirit of an art work rather than strict adherence to syntax, structure and the literal must be a greater advantage to the translator. Stop reading and learn to experience God the imperative for our times.

  2. You are more right than you know Kevin – it turns out that we have been had, and that these are not translations of Hafiz at all, but poems inspired by Hafiz.

    One reviewer on amazon writes: Daniel Ladinsky is a great poet, but a poor human being.

    Hafiz seems to be even more difficult to translate than Rumi and Kabir. Some recommend that we wait for Professor Dick Davis forthcoming book, The Faces of Love. There’s an interesting article by him here where we points out some of the difficulties. For instance, intoxication is forbidden in Islam, so Rumi compares the forbidden intoxication of mysticism with that of wine. This simply doesn’t come across in English. There is also a video of a talk with Dick Davis on the website of the Nour Foundation.

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