Do not be absent

Hey, boy, pass the bowl round and offer it;
At first love seemed easy, but snags have cropped up.

In desire of the pod of musk the eastern breeze might at last open,
From the twist of his musky tress how much blood has flooded hearts!

Stain the prayer-mat wth wine, if the Magian Elder tells you:
The traveller won’t be ignorant of the road and of how to behave at the halts.

At the darling’s alighting place, what scope have we for making love when
Every moment the bell clangs, “Strap up the camel litters”?

Dark night, the waves’ terror, so dreadful a whirlpool,
How might the lightly-burdened on the shore know our condition?

Through gratification all my actions have led to disrepute. Yes, indeed,
How, gossip-parties being held about them, can secrets stay secret?

Hafiz, if it’s Presence you want, do not be absent from Him:
When you meet what you long for, bid the world farewell and let it go hang.

Hafiz of Shiraz
tr. Peter Avery

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