Hafez 225

(Hafez: born 14th C, Shiraz, Iran)

After the contraction – benumbed – a cataract of wine
within!  In spate – again – the current sparkles inside.

I raise a thousand praises to that rush of crimson that
flushed every atom of jaundice from my complexion.

The art of plucking the fruit as if vines were an emerald
harp; the nimble heels, crushing… may these never spoil.

Fate pruned me for Love: whatever Fate plants in our soil,
no one can grub out.

                                       Don’t use your last breath for wisdom:
whether outcast or philosopher, death will have you stumped.

So, censor, take your braying elsewhere.  Ours is not the farm
God intended you to work.

                                                 Rather, breathe such calm that when,
at last, eyes grow dark, mourners claim: This cannot be the end.

Be content.  At least, practise contentment.  Of loss, win, make
no display.  Take pains, and Time will be satin on your back.

Reader: the First Day made us each a soundless vessel.
Drain it.  Drunk with Unity, drink to purify yourself.


Hafez 192

(Hafez: born 14th C, Shiraz, Iran)

Noon’s disunion, night’s estrangement: these cease to apply to my Beloved.
This is the omen I cast beneath a passing comet.

Dense with grace and beauty, this seasonal world fooled me; but the lingering
peace of a true Master became my fall, my spring.

Now, in the world, heart gives its light unresisting to horizons.  Hearts can rise
as suns do, when dust that caused all grief adores.

To hope that arrives at first knell of day, that knelt behind screens of mist, say:
Come out – the doings of night could never persist.

Praise the Creator for this, who spills dawn’s petals from rosy crowns to quell
the fuss of December’s gusts and the august thorn.

Stumbling forlorn through the pitch thickets of midnight Hair – gone.  In bone
and blood, the rumbles of interminable storm: gone.

I was prey the holy Locks ensnared; but a familiar cheek of hill arose as Guide
from that forest to loosen each grievous knot inside.

Now, in union with my Love, I march to the Wine-house with harp and drum
and the story I sing has nothing to do with separation.

Cup-bearer: you poured with such wrenching tenderness, my wine-sickness
is stanched.  May the vine ever kiss your goblet’s brim!

Reader: there is no bill for this, no itemisation of Truth.  I feel only relief
beyond limit, as one who passes through Love, or Death.


“Reminiscent of e.e. cummings at his best”, UK poet Mario Petrucci is four times winner of the London Writers competition and three times winner of a Sheffield Thursday Poetry Prize.  He has won prizes in the National Poetry Competition [UK], is recipient of a PBS Recommendation, and holds the Bridport Prize, the Frogmore Prize, a Silver Wyvern Award, and the Irish Times Perpetual Trophy.  Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl (Enitharmon, 2004) secured the Daily Telegraph/ Arvon Prize; it is the basis of a celebrated film by Seventh Art Productions.  In 2012, Petrucci was shortlisted for the prestigious Ted Hughes Award.