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Persian poetry pastiche


Five ghazals inspired by Hafiz's ghazals*



Except for Your threshold, in the world my shelter

is nowhere;

my place of safety, except for this one door, there

is nowhere.

You, are the Protector and the Beloved of all Your lovers,

without You we are lost, worthless ... our future

is nowhere!

In the street to Your Winehouse is where You'll find us:

invite us in for a sip, for our thirst that is so rare,

is nowhere!

This world is a prison of illusion, it is a trickster, a thief:

it wants us to think it's all there is but that 'there'

is nowhere!

In dust at Your doorway is where this lover will stay ...

I shall never leave here, because to go elsewhere ...

is 'nowhere'.

Once I thought the world was 'my oyster', but now it

lacks the possibility of any pearl for it, I am aware

is nowhere!

Paul, that real Pearl can only be found by diving into

the depth of the ocean of one's heart, It elsewhere

is nowhere!



Heart's blood from our eye all over our face


one cannot see what from eye upon our case


Sometimes pain of separation's such it becomes too much

to do anything ... but hope well love's chase


We seek the Beloved here and there and inside and out ...

can be so elusive, we come that One's face


What is the point in trying to hunt down that One for

that One's everywhere, yet nowhere our case

I went to see my cardiologist, he said eat, drink less:

then he quotes Hafiz all about God's grace;


Since I gave him a Divan twenty years ago, he is a

'new man' ... consults Hafiz, commonplace

'Paul, all books of yours since the by-pass I should

get a percentage of ... way the marketplace




I have the desire that if it from my hand out right

will come,

I'll have in hand such a thing, grief's end in sight

will come.

We are all given a gift from God, whether aware or not:

it is a unique talent ... unless we use it no insight

will come.

Sixty years ago on way to school I skip a turn I create

same rhyme and find a ghazal right, light, bright

will come.

Perhaps you can skip flat stones across a pond that go

on it seems forever and from it even God's delight

will come?

Maybe, you can create a shoe so strong, comfortable,

beautiful, that to wear it one believes what's right

will come.

All God wants us to do to gain grace is to give back

a gift, anew, completed, perfect ... then that Light

will come.

Paul, it is easy, yet so difficult, impossibly possible!

Beg for that One's help and one day call to Unite

will come!



Where is one who through friendship will be faithful to me ...

who with a reprobate such as me will act kindly, mercifully?

Real friendship is so difficult to find because it means of the

other thinking more than oneself, loving the other, sincerely.

True friendship means equality, listening, putting oneself in

the other's shoes and seeing out of those eyes ... differently!

Friendship that matters is not one-sided, lacking in interest:

a lasting friendship is one of selflessness, a thing of beauty!

Our lives are too short to hold grudges, be bitter, tell lies ...

caring, is the basis of friendship, not ever senseless cruelty!

Unless we can forgive our hearts can never expand, be free:

unless we're open-minded, friendship is never a possibility!

If we judge others, we will ourselves be judged by the One:

if we cast the first stone we will have a heart that is stony.

Real friends don't have to be with each other to be together:

friendship crosses all barriers, countries, walls ... diversity.

True friendship is the result of many a lifetime of crossing

the paths of one another until recognition comes naturally.

'At last my heart does comprehend: there's nothing as dear

as a friend, a Friend!' Hafiz said that so lovingly ... wisely.

Paul says: may all your days be full of joy due to a faithful

friend who'll always stick by you... no matter your enemy.



The days of union with friends gone by,


remember all those times, O try, O try,


We drink a glass of wine to all those friends no longer

with us, but their love and their help I

For John, old friend, great singer, musician, interpreter

of Hafiz, gentle, selfless, kind, I sigh:


The 'Egg', Geoff, poet, painter, fighter and raconteur;

sick for years he never down did lie ...

Stan Adams the finest of all ... who made it through

to You, our Beloved, to tell me, 'I

And You, O Meher, Friend, Beloved, God in form:

You are like my very breath ... I cry


And Paul, old friend, not dropped this form as yet;

to you I drink too as throat gets dry.


Paul SmithPaul Smith is a Melbourne poet, author, translator of many books of Sufi poets of the Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Pashtu and other languages. Website

*The ghazal is an ancient form that originated in Arabic poetry. The 14th century Persian poet Hafiz is a renowned proponent of the form.

Topic tags: Paul Smith, Hafiz, Persia, poetry



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Existing comments

Words too precious not to comment with thanks. The closest thoughts on friendship I will keep close.

Fran | 20 October 2015  

Beautifully done

Peter Goers | 20 October 2015  

Thank you, Paul. I love the sufi poets and really felt your translation or rendering. Beautiful! The all-consuming desire for and love of God they write of is so unfashionable in modern, religious, educated circles these days, but such a tonic, an inspiration for my dry heart.

Shane Keher | 23 October 2015  

Love the Sufic poets and love your work. Both full of light, love and the closeness of God.

Annabel | 10 November 2015  

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