c. 1365 | Shiraz

The Mead of Heaven

Hafez enjoys the pleasure of wine.

Curls disheveled, sweating, laughing, and
    drunk,
shirt torn, singing ghazals, flask in hand,

his eyes seeking a quarrel, his lips saying,
    “Alas!”
last night at midnight he came and sat by
    my pillow.

He bent his head to my ear and said, sadly,
“O my ancient lover, are you sleeping?”

The seeker to whom they give such a cup at
    dawn
is an infidel to love if he will not worship
    wine.

O ascetic, go, and don’t quibble with those
    who drink the dregs,
for on the eve of Creation this was all they
    gave us.

What he poured in our cup we drank,
whether the mead of heaven or the wine of
    drunkenness.

The wine cup’s smile and his knotted curl
have broken many vows of repentance, like
    that of Hafez.

Contributor

Hafez

“Ghazal 10.” Hafez as a young man is said to have worked as both a baker’s apprentice and manuscript copyist. In his twenties he became a court poet, composing verse for local rulers in Shiraz. One of the great Persian lyric poets, he is beloved for his colloquial language and musical cadence.