Here's what we like best about Daniel Ladinsky's "renderings" of Sufi poetry by Hafiz (1320-1389): he reframes our limited ideas about the world, the flesh, and the challenges of life; he consistently reveals the beauty of God and the wonders of the universe; he gives free rein to play, dance, singing, and goofing around; he helps us to see each day as offering a fresh opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Beloved.
In this rich and robust collection of poems by Hafiz for every day of the year, Ladinksy encourages us to savor the pleasures of intimacy with the Radiant One. Or to put it another way, reading Hafiz is like falling in love all over again:
"Know the true nature of your Beloved.
In His loving eyes your every thought,
word, and movement is always, always,
Our experiences and our senses testify to this love:
"All of God, which is everything, is really so
close, and caresses us now and then if your
your senses are alert."
Spending time with Hafiz, some instructions are bound to rub off, such as:
1. Be polite.
"Everyone is really God speaking.
Why not be polite and listen to
the Old Guy?"
2. Act with passion.
"And when you finally speak up or act with passion
you will help tear down some walls of tyranny."
3. Let love lift you.
"I once asked a bird, 'How is it that you fly
in this gravity of darkness?'
She responded, 'Love lifts me.' "
"Forgiveness is the cash you need. All the other
kinds of silver really buy just strange things.
5. Know what you are doing.
" This is the time for you to compute the
impossibility that there is anything but Grace.
Now is the season to know that everything we
do . . . is sacred."
6. Find the riches.
"There are divine riches everywhere. The
most natural way for most to find them
is by caring for those who are close to
you as if they were our Beloved."
"Who laughs the most knows the most,
if that laughter is sincere."