Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cupping My Hands Like a Mountain Valley - by Hafiz

This poem by the Sufi master poet Hafiz speaks greatly as to how I view my own station in life.
Surely I am not as advanced a being as he was, but hey, I practice….
this interpretation is by Daniel Ladinsky and can be found in the book The Gift.


Like the way the valleys of the earth
Cup their hands for light and drink,

Like the way the desert opens up its sweet mouth
And laughs

When someone melts pearls in the sky
And rain, rain
Returns like a divine lover
With a hundred wonderful gifts

O, the words from the true Teacher
Bring my mind and cells
Such sacred nourishment and life.

When the moon is full
It gets gregarious and likes to chat.
I have heard it say,

"Look what can happen, dear seeker,
When you lean your graceful arms towards God
In prayer,

Look at all that amorous light you can catch
That will help the night musicians and your soul
Get loose."
I stand revolving like a great dervish
In an ecstatic submission to His will.

I have been hired to perform the final act of grace.
I am the priest in every sacred wedding tent.

Tonight, I am a sovereign planet
With a great wool skirt.
I am a divine artist
On stage before God's entire court.

With each sublime whirl and orbit
I bow to the Sun's feet.
I fill my glass for you, dear pilgrim,
Beneath the luminous leaking barrel.

I then pour all the contents of my heart
And eye's experience
Upon this banquet table.

For your body and mind are precious silk cloth
Hafiz has come to dye!

I circumambulate the Truth from the sky
Like a golden vulture.
I have forsaken all of the crippling manners
Of even the most royal birds.

I carry a lute in my talons like a mortal weapon.
Please, please enter into a holy battle with me.
For I am God's friend
Who maims with compassion!
And you are a lost dove upon His wing.

I can teach you
How to bribe the Beloved with an angelic tune

So that the divine manna of His glance
Will fall upon your palate.

Some days I know
That you are en route to your own slaughter.

Some days I know
You are being trained as an emissary
To serve His office of joy.

Dear one,
Last night, in the gallery of Reality
I saw a portrait I will never forget:

The Beloved was stirring a pot
With a spoon the size of a universe
And when He lifted it
I saw this whole world and its affairs
Were not even a floating speck of barley
Before the radiance of two diamonds
That were His brilliant cheeks!

All 
I could do when beholding that vision
Was to fall upon my knees

And cup my hands like a humble valley
Huddled between the thighs
Of this exquisite, holy mountain range

And try to build a reservoir to hold the
Beloved's
Resplendent smile
That offers myriad tickets to freedom,
That offers the splendor of hearing God sing!

I am a spinning wheel upon the infinite.
I have swallowed that axis and hub
That fathered light and truth.

Grab hold and swing from me, my dear,
Doing the impossible
With your hands and feet both clapping.

I offer a mother's comfort and knowledge
To those who are tired and weak.

And when you become strong
I will conduct like a skilled warrior-king
Your divine volcanic glands exploding like new galaxies
In all their blessed madness.

God offers love, love, love
With His own hands,
To your beautiful parched holy mouth.

Open your soul, handsome dying one.
See all gender talk as a mighty joke,
In a oneness as glorious as this!

Hafiz, go running from that gallery
Like a naked, drunk lion
Roaring with laughter that will shake
The whole earth
And every window and door throughout the sleeping
Cities,
Like a man,
Like a man who is delivering on a great steed
Fantastic news!

Tie yourself as a bell
To herds of mating camels
And spring flocks of clouds and birds.

Tie yourself to spawning stars
And to leaping whales
In a game of tag with the Moon!
Tie yourself to everything in creation
That got poured from God's magic hat.

O, tie your soul like a magnificent sweet chime
To every leaf and limb in existence,

Then begin to shout divine obscenities
So that He will surely send a tremendous storm.

Because Hafiz, because Hafiz,
O, sweet Hafiz,
You are a man with such benevolent and fantastic
Good News!

Dear wayfarer,
Now indulge me in a sober moment,
Please set down your glass.

I can help you write a letter of resignation
To all your fears and sadness.

Listen:
Let all movement and sound,
Let all movement and sound
Begin to speak the truth to your heart
And write its music upon your vision and 
Soft pink tongue.

Soak all your prejudices in oil-
I would consider it a favor.
Bring and sing to me your darkest thoughts,
For my whole body is a blazing emerald wick,
I a pure flame
Who needs and loves to burn your trash.

We should lean against each other more
In such a strange world as this
That can make you scared
And even believe in that lie called death.

We should support each other-
Give more warmth
In such a demanding world as this.

Let all movement
Gently yield something of God
Upon your chin and vision
And roll down onto your prayer mat
That will take root in the holy soil of your surrender.
May I hone your devotion with a kiss?

For all in existence is just spinning like this
Sweet earth
In a divine current.

Why not dance like Hafiz in the cup,
In the cup of His spoon?
I offer my clapping spirit to you,
That is in eternal movement.

Hafiz offers to bow at your feet
With hands that God has shaped and pounded.

Look into my palms, my dear,
They now contain your face and infinite existence.

All your ideas of space and time are shadows
That will run from this Sun He has made me.

I want to tie myself
As a gift around your neck.
I want to place a wonderful secret
Near your veins.

Why not use my verse as a golden camel bell
That you can turn upside down into a chalice
And fill with wine?

Hafiz,
You are a divine camel bell
That the Beloved is ringing with His own hand.

Hafiz, you were a blessed slave to Truth
That died like a cut reed and became hollow-

Turned into a divine instrument
That God now lifts to His own mouth,
Plays to summon this world to freedom.

How many men exist upon this earth
To whom I could whisper a holy secret?
Dear ones, 
"God has sown Himself onto my tongue."

Like the way
The valleys of the earth
Cup their hands for light and drink,

Like
The way
The desert opens up its sweet mouth
And laughs

When someone melts pearls in the sky

And rain, rain
Returns like a divine lover
With a thousand wonderful
Gifts.

O, the luminous words of my Beloved
Now bring my mind and soul
Such a sacred
Nourishment
And

Peace.





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