the Great Old One

Without a doubt, my favorite poet is Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz,  Born in Shiraz, Persia in the early 14th century, and Iran’s most treasured poet, Hafiz is also considered one of the greatest lyrical poets of all time.

What draws me to Hafiz is that his poetry is both inherently ecstatic and sacred. All his poems are solidly rooted in what Daniel Ladinsky calls "the Mystical Ground of Unreason – and a love and experience that surpasses the intellect, time and space." There is always a wonderful playfulness in the poems of Hafiz, but there is also an inescapable logic and truth.

I love that Hafiz was fearless in his renderings of our human condition, and even more importantly, of the depth and passion of God’s love for each of us. I also love Hafiz’s unique vocabulary of names for God.

For Hafiz, God is so much more than the Father or the Mother. Hafiz knew God as the Sweet Uncle, the Generous Merchant, the Problem Giver and even the Clever Rascal. God is the Music, the Dancer, the Wine, the Beautiful Companion. God is the Tavern Keeper, and above all, the Beloved,

Known for centuries as "The Tongue of the Invisible," Hafiz sings wild and beautiful love songs to us from the heart of God. Even though diluted through time from the 14th century, his poetry is so rooted in God’s love that it continues to offer courage, hope and joy to a world hungry for the presence that only comes from walking with the beloved.

All to often we forget that God loves us far more than we can ever imagine. We forget that we live and move and breathe surrounded by a love that infuses all creation with a glory and power beyond comprehension. Hafiz is one who helps bring that truth back into focus for me.

BEAUTIFUL HANDS

This is the kind of Friend
You are —

Without making me realize

My soul’s anguished history,

You slip into my house at night,

And while I am sleeping,

You silently carry off

All my suffering and sordid past

In Your beautiful
Hands.