c. 1368 | Shiraz

A Great Secret

Hafez defends the sanctity of life.

If this world
Was not held in God’s bucket

How could an ocean stand upside down
On its head and never lose a drop?

If your life was not contained in God’s cup

How could you be so brave and laugh,
Dance in the face of death?

There is a private chamber in the soul
That knows a great secret

Of which no tongue can speak.

Your existence my dear, O love my dear,
Has been sealed and marked

“Too sacred,” “too sacred,” by the Beloved—
To ever end!

Indeed God
Has written a thousand promises
All over your heart

That say,
Life, life, life,
Is far too sacred to
Ever end.



“God’s Bucket.” Hafez sang the praises of multiple rulers at the court of Shiraz while also lecturing on theology. It is said that after Tamerlane took over Persia, he made a visit to Shiraz to spend time with the great poet; the conqueror remained there for two months.