Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Shockingly Modern 600-Year-Old Poem, by Hafiz

Sharing this timeless poem, published most recently in Harper's. Not only is Mookie's Food Odyssey about food, it's also a way to demonstrate my commitment to reading and thinking about the written word, so that shortly after I'm finished with school I can get a related job, thereby feeding myself, thereby filling my soul. 

I'm delighted to now know Hafiz's work, copied below. Writers and scholars, I think, often worry that the works closest to their own hearts will degrade in meaning over time. Hafiz can rest assured we get him here, as if he wrote yesterday and not over 600 years ago. "Untitled" is succinct and accessible--the best kind of poetry.

I appreciate that he gives books lives, human qualities. His use of the word "square" is so close to the more modern way in which we might insult boring people that's it's uncanny. That's my read, at least.


Untitled Poem

by Hafiz (Persian, c. 1320-89)

All I want to do
is get drunk with my wife

An endless glass of wine
both of us on the floor

So what if squares
Look down on us?

Boring and misguided
are their miserable lives

When my wife is in the city
and I'm home
I want to cry

The moonlight
on the cypress tree
is a bitter light

No book has ever kissed me
like she does

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