Guest poem submitted by Ruchi Bhimani:
(Poem #447) My Sweet, Crushed Angel
You have not danced so badly, my dear, Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One. You have waltzed with great style, My sweet, crushed angel, To have ever neared God's heart at all. Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow, And even His best musicians are not always easy To hear. So what if the music has stopped for a while. So what If the price of admission to the Divine Is out of reach tonight. So what, my dear, If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love. The mind and the body are famous For holding the heart ransom, But Hafiz knows the Beloved's eternal habits. Have patience, For He will not be able to resist your longing For Long. You have not danced so badly, my dear, Trying to kiss the Beautiful One. You have actually waltzed with tremendous style, O my sweet, O my sweet crushed angel.
This poem was sent to me by a dear friend after we parted ways at boarding school 5 years ago. I like it...well, primarily, because it was from a close friend. But for the sake of formalism and good poetry, I will attempt to identify what else it is about the poem that captures me, and makes me unfold a scrap of paper from my wallet and share it with people that matter. I like the repetition. 'The sweet Crushed Angel'. I like the world it creates of God and Divinity, and makes it seem ordinary, not a forced, contrived world. And i love how God is "notorious" for making our life difficult. The metaphor of the dance gives the entire poem such grace and makes it flow, like a lilting melody. Makes it enjoyable reading every single time. I am happy to share this poem with other minstrel subscribers... other poetry lovers. I know nothing more, apart from this poem, about Hafiz, and would love to know more, if anyone knows. Ruchi. [thomas adds] Your wish is our command... here's Brittanica on Hafiz (or Hafez, as they prefer to spell his name): b. 1325/26, Shiraz, Iran d. 1389/90, Shiraz in full MOHAMMAD SHAMS OD-DIN HAFEZ one of the finest lyric poets of Persia. Hafez received a classical religious education, lectured on Qur'anic and other theological subjects ("Hafez" designates one who has learned the Qur'an by heart), and wrote commentaries on religious classics. As a court poet he enjoyed the patronage of several rulers of Shiraz. About 1368-69 Hafez fell out of favour at the court and did not regain his position until 20 years later, just before his death. In his poetry there are many echoes of historical events as well as biographical descriptions and details of life in Shiraz. One of the guiding principles of his life was Sufism, the Islamic mystical movement that demanded of its adherents complete devotion to the pursuit of union with the ultimate reality. Hafez's principal verse form, one that he brought to a perfection never achieved before or since, was the ghazel, a lyric poem of 6 to 15 couplets linked by unity of subject and symbolism rather than by a logical sequence of ideas. Traditionally the ghazel had dealt with love and wine, motifs that, in their association with ecstasy and freedom from restraint, lent themselves naturally to the expression of Sufi ideas. Hafez's achievement was to give these conventional subjects a freshness and subtlety that completely relieves his poetry of tedious formalism. An important innovation credited to Hafez was the use of the ghazel instead of the qasida (ode) in panegyrics. Hafez also reduced the panegyric element of his poems to a mere one or two lines, leaving the remainder of the poem for his ideas. The extraordinary popularity of Hafez's poetry in all Persian-speaking lands stems from his simple and often colloquial though musical language, free from artificial virtuosity, and his unaffected use of homely images and proverbial expressions. Above all, his poetry is characterized by love of humanity, contempt for hypocrisy and mediocrity, and an ability to universalize everyday experience and to relate it to the mystic's unending search for union with God. His appeal in the West is indicated by the numerous translations of his poems. Hafez is most famous for his Divan; Eng. prose trans., H. Wilberforce Clarke, Hafiz Shirazi. The Divan (1891, reprinted 1971). There is also a translated collection: A.J. Arberry, Fifty Poems of Hafiz (1947). -- EB [Postscript] "There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace, and as much knowledge of the world." -- Sherlock Holmes, 'A Case of Identity'.