Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Know the Way You Can Get

Mary Oliver is not the only poet in my life. Here's one of my favorites from the 14th century Persian Sufi poet Hafiz. It often cheers me up on bad days.

I Know the Way You Can Get

I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of love:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one's self

Oh, I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.
You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once trusted.

I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love's Hands.

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
And Wanting
Just to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near to me,
For I am the Sweet Old Vagabond
With an Infinite Leaking Barrel
Of Light and Laughter and Truth
That the Beloved has tied to my back.

Dear one,
Indeed, please bring your heart near to me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!

1 comment:

StefandLin said...

dThank you for this--
the poem, your blog, the pics of Jack.
My friend Ruth looks like Jack with her bald head. It's a fun way of enjoying the new look and reminding myself of you.
You sound so happy. I'm truly truly glad for you.
Love, Stef