Hafez 278

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

Rightful One – how shyly sky sips dawn’s flood from Your cup!
Your enemy’s heart is a tulip, dark-streaked, steeped in blood.

No human, however high-minded, can scale Your peak: even
imagination’s fleetest mountaineer might climb a million aeons.

Your mass of curls is lamp and sight to this world.  On zephyrs
of fortune, one ringlet slips over each soul, as if a wedding band.

You are the moon, full and bright in that starry dome of justice.
Both eye and light to a whole world.  Perfect goblet; purest wine.

When Venus herself inclines, in piercing light, to sing Your praises,
those who envy You are instant companions in loss and weeping.

The nine rings of day and night, their medallions in gold and silver,
are nothing but the humblest items in Your open vault of treasures.

Into verse – mind’s virgin daughter – You breathed, whispered wide
secrets; let the dowry of worlds, of this matchless bride, be Yours.

Here, Your humblest writer metes out devotion in metres.  An infinite
kindness witnesses the pact.  Servant-loving, You sign with an ocean.


Hafez 36

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

The highest terrace of Paradise is the sanctuary of: the Dervish.
The origins of Majesty lie in the honest service of: the Dervish.

The secret vault of talismans even jaded sight finds wondrous
is entered by that lightest door: the drooping eyelid of the Dervish.

The Glories before which the noon-crowned sun, in submissive
immolation, must set itself down – that is the horizon of the Dervish.

Those Palaces of cloud spectacularly overseen by angelic Rizvan
are no more than a crack in the plank of the door of the Dervish Eden.

Those beams redeeming dullest alloys, making gold of them instead,
are an alchemy one beholds only in the orbit of gently-tilted heads.

East to west, armies spring.  But from Timeless birth to Timeless death
the Wind that swirls their fallen leaves is the circular Dervish breath.

That priceless Tapestry this world has yet to undo or thin – let this
be heard without elaboration: it is spun in the Dervish whirlwind.

When we daily plead at arch or altar taking forms of Persian Kings,
we only bend the knee because they serve beneath Dervish diadems.

Yes: whenever you loudly sing of conquest, you Emperor or Empress,
remember your golden neck is noosed in a Dervish ring of fortress.

If Karun’s golden city, still, rusts underground – hear it told thus:
a revolutionary Dervish wrath delivered the tenfold downward thrust.

And when a King nears success in his very greatest venture,
to that whirling oval of a Dervish face it is but dimmest mirror.

Freely I am bound to the Asaf of our age: wisest vizier, whose glance
is Patronage.  From the inward Dervish, his outward powers dance.

Reader: if you must find where darkest, deepest Endlessnesses well,
their utmost headwater is the lowest dust circling the Dervish cell.

Be circumspect.  All that is material and immaterial evolves afresh
with respect to the centred foot, the revolving foot, of the Dervish.


“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.