“The Gift” for 9/11

On this day we remember and pray for the victims of 9/11, those Christians, Muslims, and Jews, believers and people of good will who lost their lives in that senseless tragedy.

“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in himself, merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth.” (Second Vatican Council, Nostra aetate 3)  As we look with esteem upon our Muslim brothers and sisters, let us draw today from the spiritual riches of Islam’s Sufi mystical tradition.

Here are some poems by the 14th century Persian Sufi mystic Hafiz, from The Gift in Daniel Ladinsky’s translation. The mystical ecstacy of these Islamic poems helps me look at my Christian tradition with fresh eyes, for example as I sing an exuberant text such as “Let the rivers clap their hands.” (Psalm 98) I’m confident that the God of Jesus Christ, the One Triune God, has spoken powerfully through Hafiz.          – awr

*          *          *

Everywhere

Running
Through the streets
Screaming,

Throwing rocks through windows,
Using my own head to ring
Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,
Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own
To a stick
And setting it on
Fire.

What else can Hafuz do tonight
To celebrate the madness,
The Joy,

Of seeing God
Everywhere!
.

*          *          *

Stop Being So Religious

What
Do sad people have in
Common?

It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past

And often go there
And do a strange wail and
Worship.

What is the beginning of
Happiness?

It is to stop being
So religious

Like

That.

.

*          *          *

The God Who Only Knows Four Words

Every

Child

Has known God,

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don’ts,

Not the God who ever does

Anything weird,

But the God who knows only four words.

And keeps repeating them, saying

“Come Dance with Me.”

Come

Dance

.

*          *          *

Getting the Blame Straight

Understanding the physics of God,
His Indivisible Nature,

Makes every universe and atom confess:

I am just a helpless puppet that cannot dance
Without the movement of His hand.

Dear ones,
This curriculum tonight is for the advanced
And will

Get all the blame straight,

End the mental

Lawsuits

That

Clog

The

Brain–

H
a
l
l
e
l
u
j
a
h

Baby!

5 comments

  1. +JMJ+

    I’m not sure Ladinsky’s rendering of Hafiz’s poetry can be considered a translation. There appears to be a fair amount of controversy over Ladinsky’s work, which critics call original inventions, not translations.

    Apparently, you won’t find those four poems above in Hafiz’s poetry. I would suggest getting hold of another English translation if you want to tap into the “mystical ecstacy of Islamic poems.”

    Sorry if I’ve burst anyone’s bubble.

    1. +JMJ+

      “He believes that it is more important to convey the emotions in Hafez’s poetry than to keep the same rhythm in the English language, and he uses the most simple words possible.” (Wiki)

      So he’s writing in the “spirit” of Hafiz, but not translating Hafiz’s poems? At least with the 1973 English translation of the Roman Missal, there’s virtually a direct correspondence between an English text and the Latin text it was based on. That doesn’t appear to be the case with Ladinsky’s poetry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *