“A rather serious—maybe too serious—university

student from another country came to Hafiz to

personally ask for his permission to translate some

of Hafiz's poems into a little book.

And he said to Hafiz, ‘What is the essential

quality in your poems that I
need to incorporate in

my translations to make them
abiding and authentic?’

And Hafiz smiled, and placed his arms
on the man's

shoulders, then said, ‘Do you
really want to know?’

And the young man said, ‘Of course.’

‘Well, well then,’ Hafiz began and

‘My poems lift the corners of the mouth—
the soul's

mouth, the heart's mouth.
And can effect any opening

that can make love.’”


Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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