Today’s poem is by Shams-uh-din Muhammad Hafiz (1320-1389) a Persian poet whose work influenced Emmerson, Goethe, Brahams, and Nietsche. During his lifetime, he worked as a breadmaker, and alchemist, a teacher, and a calligrapher. He fell out of favor with the ruling court more than once, and had to leave town. He wrote more than 5000 poems, none of which have survived in his own hand.
I stumbled upon his work in Love Poems from God translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Hafiz’s works are spiritual, yet earthy. Here is “Tiny Gods.”
Some/gods say, the tiny ones,/”I am not here in your vibrant, moist lips/that need to beach themselves upon the golden shore/of a naked body.”
Some gods say, “I am not the scarred yearning of the unrequited soul;/ I am not the blushing cheek of every star and planet —
I am not the applauding Creator of those precious secretions that/can distill the whole mind into a wincing jewel/if only for a moment;
nor do I reside in every pile of sweet warm dung born/of the earth’s gratuity.”
Some gods say, the ones we need to hang,/”Your mouth was not designed to know His, love was not conceived/to consume the luminous realms.”
Dear ones beware,/beware of the tiny gods frightened men/worship
to bring an anesthetic control and relief/to their sad/days.
I love the way Hafiz declares divinity is expressed through our joyous bodies, through all of creation, and that to deny that is to deny God.