Chain you to my body / Hafiz



These words

Are just a front.

What I would really like to do is

Chain you to my body,

Then sing for days

And days and




mjc-Chain you to my body

Translation is always dangerous, and translating poetry… terrifying. Daniel Ladinsky is a particularly controversial translator (and this is why, lover, when I challenged you to find the original of this poem, do you remember, I knew I wasn’t playing fair). From Ivan. M. Granger, curator of the Poetry Chaikana website:

“People sometimes wonder why I don’t feature more of Hafiz’s poetry from Daniel Ladinsky’s book, The Gift. They are such delightful, ecstatic, irreverent poems that have inspired so many people…

Ladinsky’s books put me in an awkward spot. I really like the poetry from Ladinsky’s books… but, well, they aren’t actually by Hafiz. His collection of poetry entitled “The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master” actually contains no lines of poetry written by the great Sufi poet Hafiz!

Daniel Ladinsky seems to acknowledge this in his introduction to the book, when he writes, “I feel my relationship to Hafiz defies all reason… I had an astounding dream in which I saw Hafiz as an Infinite Fountaining Sun (I saw him as God), who sang hundreds of lines of his poetry to me in English, asking me to give that message to ‘my artists and seekers.'”

You might say that Ladinsky’s poetry is “inspired by” Hafiz. Or, if you prefer a broader interpretation, you could say Ladinsky channels Hafiz. But his “translations” are not the historical writings of Hafiz. From the more limited scholar’s definition, these are poems by Daniel Ladinsky, not Hafiz.

So here’s what I do: I enjoy Ladinsky’s playful, profound poetry, but I look to other books to savor the historical poetry of Hafiz that Sufis and seekers have delighted in for centuries.”

For purists, Granger recommends:

The Spiritual Wisdom of Hafez: Teachings of the Philosopher of Love, by Haleh Pourafzal / Roger Montgomery

Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi, Translated by Mahmood Jamal

Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems, Translated by Bernard Lewis

Drunk on the Wine of Beloved: 100 Poems of Hafiz, by Thomas Rain Crowe

Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition, Translated by David Fideler / Translated by Sabrineh Fideler

* * * *

ORDERS: Mine the Poetry Chaikhana site. Who knows what you will discover? I’m currently lost in Women Sacred Poets, and may never come out…



About mjanecolette

Writer. Reader. Angster. Reformed Bohemian (not). Author of the erotic romance TELL ME, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) CONSEQUENCES (of defensive adultery), the award-winning rom-com (she's versatile) CHERRY PIE CURE, and TEXT ME, CUPID--a (slightly dirty) love story for 21st century adults who don't believe in love... but want it anyway. A sought-after speaker and presenter, Colette is also the author of the Dirty Writing Secrets Series, which includes the non-fiction collection of essays ROUGH DRAFT CONFESSIONS: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside inside anyway, 101 FLIRTY WRITING PROMPTS TO SEDUCE YOUR MUSE, and ORGANIZED CREATIVE. She's also the curator of the fab YYC Queer Writers anthologies Queer Christmas in Cowtown, Screw Chocolate, and A Queer Summer Night's in Cowtown. Releasing Spring 2020: CUPID IN MONTE CARLO.

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