Annotated Translation of a Ghazal by Hafiz

دلم رميده لولي وشيست شورانگيز

دروغ وعده و قتال وضع و رنگ آميز

My heart fears the gypsy1, so full of life and joy is she!

Of false promises, deadly manners2, and colors fickle3 4

فداي پيرهن چاک ماه رويان باد

هزار جامه ی تقوا و خرقه ی  پرهيز

Be they ransomed, for the torn shirt of the moon-faced ones5

Those thousand dresses of God wariness and robes6 of piety

خيال خال تو با خود به خاک خواهم برد

که تا ز خال تو خاکم شود عبيرآميز

I’d drag the thought of your freckle7 with me to dust

Would that it perfume my dust and ashes

فرشته عشق نداند که چيست اي ساقي

بخواه جام و گلابي به خاک آدم ريز

Love’s angel8 has no hint of what it is, oh Saqi!

Order a cup and pour wine9 on mortal’s remains!

پياله بر کفنم بند تا سحرگه حشر

به مي ز دل ببرم هول روز رستاخيز

Bind now a cup to my shroud, perchance at the dawn10 of Resurrection day11

I would cast out the Rising’s all too sudden terror from the heart

فقير و خسته به درگاهت آمدم رحمي

که جز ولاي توام نيست هيچ دستاويز

Your audience I’ve reached all worn and wretched, have mercy!

There is no helping hand for me but your friendship

بيا که هاتف ميخانه دوش با من گفت

که در مقام رضا باش وز قضا مگريز

Come, last night the tavern’s messenger12 told me,

Abide in contentment station13 and flee not from fate14

ميان عاشق و معشوق هيچ حایل نيست

تو خود حجاب خودي حافظ! از ميان برخيز

— There is no screen between the lover and the beloved

— You are your own veil,15 Hafez! Rise from the midst!   ________________________________________________________________

1 Lūlī-wash, according to Yūsufī refers to a “kulī-ṣefat” or gypsy-like traits (423). Dehkhoda gives a variety of meanings for “lulī”: someone who is improper or shameless in terms of their behavior and interactions (Vajehyab, entry Lūlī); someone from Lorestan/Kabul/Gilan/a promiscuous Indian woman, or someone who dances and sings aloud in streets. Khorramshāhī writes that Lūlī refers to a poor person who sang in the streets and alleys; being sensitive and delicate; or what a promiscuous woman was called in India (Zarrīnkub); Zarrīnkub also holds that a Lulī is a “kulī” or a gypsy (Khorramshāhī, 115).

2  “Qitāl-wazʿ” is a compound term literally meaning of a “murdering/killing disposition/nature”. Wazʿ means the positioning of something, its quality, condition, etc (Vajehyab, entry Wazʿ). Yusufī mentions that it could refer both to having the appearance of murderers, or a human disposition that exhibits that of a murderer. Qitāl comes from the Arabic morpheme ‘fi’āl’, which relays a repetitive/mastered skill.

3  “Rang-āmīz” is another compound term that can mean induced and heavy with color, or mixed with colors; fickle, blending hues/colors, connoting a constant change of tone and colors that can be deceiving to perception. The beloved amongst Sufi poets, especially Ḥāfiz, usually takes on the role of an unrequitting beloved, who tortures the lover through deceitful means of seduction.  Khorramshāhī says that it refers to someone who is deceitful and a plotter/schemer (853).

“A wretch forsworn, on murder bent, who every trick can play” (Bicknell, 167).

5 Māh-rū, literally translated as moon-faced ones, is a dominant motif in Ḥāfiz’ Dīvān. The moon itself is a symbol of extraordinary feminine beauty and grace (rotundity of the face being the main feature). The edification experienced by the physical feminine beauty is contrasted with those who claim to represent religiosity and piety (referring perhaps to Islamic scholars and ascetics who disclaimed materialism and sensual inclinations).

6 Khirqah is a piece of fabric, clothing – in Sufi terminology it refers to a coarse clothing made up of knitted torn pieces; it is the officiating ‘dress’ of the Sufi’s, that is bestowed on them by the Pīr or the Murshid after they have gained the necessary spiritual disciplining. Khorramshāhī writes that Ḥāfiz speaks of three types of khirqah: the Sufi’s khirqah, the zāhid’s, and his own — and he does not have a positive view of any of the three (102-3).

7 Mole would be a more accurate translation, but doesn’t particularly present a delicate image to me.

8 Ḥāfiz has several ghazals where he speaks of the relationship between angels and love, where the angel is usually unable to understand the inherent nature of love (for example in the second verse of the ghazal ‘Dar azal parto’e ḥusnat ze tajalī dam zad’). Love, according to Khorramshāhī, is a quality that is attributed by Hāfiz and other gnostics solely to human beings, not angels (853). Ebrāhīmī Dīnānī attributes this view to other poets like Attār, and says that although angels are in love with the Divine by virtue of being in perpetual state of worship, they do not share in human longing for the Divine. Humans have to overcome a painful distance, grief, and emptiness and hence have a more accurate understanding of love’s nature. Angels have no sense of pain or grief (Dīnanī, 969).

9 An alternative for “rosewater”, Khorramshāhī writes, is sharāb or wine. Although many argue that rosewater is the logical choice, because it was customarily poured over the graves of the dead (853-4), the lines following this verse seem to suggest that there is an element of obliviousness that may be induced by intoxication per wine, as opposed to the scent of rosewater.

10  Sahar, here, is not reminiscent of the the general use of dawn in Hāfiz’ poetry, considering it is simply referring to the start of Resurrection Day. However, it is a noteworthy symbol nevertheless. The saḥar or dawn, according to Franklin Lewis, represents the mythic time (or mythopoetic time) that is entangled with various sacred and mundane activities. It marks the time of parting for the lovers who have spent the night before in intimate embrace (Lewis, 257). It is also associated with the call of the muazzin who alerts others to the first Islamic prayer of the day — a time of prayer and spiritual remembrance, and one of the periods of the day where the prayer is said to be most effective (Khorramshāhī, 307). Moreover, it is the time where angels visit the lower world and Divine grace descends (Lewis, 273) as attested by the Qur’an (97:5). The dawn is also the period where the Sabā, or the Eastern morning breeze, brings forth messages from the beloved to the lover. One can say that it is a timeless time. Saḥar-khīzī or the quality of waking early at dawn-time is praised by Ḥāfiz throughout the Dīvān — it is a quality of lovers and true worshippers of God who wake up for prayer, but also are able to experience the timeless depth of the events aforementioned.

11 “Judgment Morn” (John Payne, 122).

12  Ḥātif has been often understood as a disembodied voice. More specifically, it refers to an angel (or a messenger) from the unseen world (ghayb) that brings about good news. Equivalent to the surūsh (a Zoroastrian angel). Some Muslim thinkers, like Abū Reyḥān al-Bīrūnī, have equated surūsh to the archangel Gabriel (Khorramshāhī, 248-9).

13  Satisfaction or contentment with Divine decree is called rezā. According to Ahmad Alī Rajāī Bukhārāī (662), amongst the Sufis it is a topic of debate in relation to its being a state (ḥāl) that affects man unwillingly or a station (maqām) that is acquired through man’s own efforts. Ḥāfiz’s wording suggests in this particular ghazal that he believes it is a station.

14 Fate, or (Divine) decree.

15  The veil, or the ḥijāb, refers to the Sufi understanding of the ego/self or nafs serving as a barrier between effacement in and recognition of God.


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