what do we really need … hafez

If a soul has already chosen solitude, why should it need

Travel? We know the street where the Friend

Lives. So why do we need the countryside?

My dear soul, by virtue of the fact that you

Have a desperate need for God, take

A moment and ask what it is we really need.

Oh, Lord of Divine Loveliness, we have been

Burned to a crisp. Come now, ask of us

What is it a destitute and beggarly person needs?

We are the lords of owning nothing. But we have

No tongue to use for requests. Is there a need

For appeal when we’re already with the generous?

There is no need to go over this again. Since your thing

Precisely is spilling our blood, everything in the house

Already belongs to you. Do you need to take more?

Solomon’s cup, in which all the world could be seen,

Is the bright soul of the Friend. When the Friend is with us,

What need do we have to reel off our list of demands?

The time is past that I would make myself

Indebted to a sailor; when we have found the pearl,

Do we need to keep going to the sea?

Oh, destitute lover, since the quickening kiss of the Friend

Has been granted to you in perpetuity, what need

Is there really to go on asking for good things?

Go away, you false face, I want nothing

To do with you. Lovers with true hearts

Are with us. Why should we need people like you?

Hafez, bring this to an end now. We all know

How clear your poems are. So we don’t need

To quarrel with those who can’t grasp poetry.


by Hafez (1315-1389)

— The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door:

Thirty Poems of Hafez

Translated by Robert Bly & Leonard Lewisohn

HarperCollins, New York, 2008,

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