My friend has fled! alas, my friend has fled,
And left me nought but tears and pain behind!
Like smoke above a flame caught by the wind,
So rose she from my breast and forth she sped.
Drunk with desire, I seized Love’s cup divine,
But she that held it poured the bitter wine
Of Separation into it and fled.
The hunter she, and I the helpless prey;
Wounded and sick, round me her toils she drew,
My heart into a sea of sorrow threw,
Bound up her camel loads and fled away.
Fain had I laid an ambush for her soul,
She saw and vanished, and the timid foal,
Good Fortune, slipped the rein and would not stay.
My heart was all too narrow for my woe,
And tears of blood my weeping eyes have shed,
A crimson stream across the desert sped,
Rising from out my sad heart’s overflow.
She knew not what Love’s meanest slave can tell:
“‘Tis sweet to serve!” but threw me a Farewell,
Kissing my threshold, turned, and cried “I go!”
In the clear dawn, before the east was red,
Before the rose had torn her veil in two,
A nightingale through Hafiz’ garden flew,
Stayed but to fill its song with tears, and fled.
Translated by Gertrude Bell
- Hafiz Poems at Amazon.com