Wednesday, October 31, 2007

God's Classroom

I Heard God Laughing:Poems of Hope and Joy
by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

A friend who loves poetry, and is himself a published poet, recently gave me I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Hafiz was an Iranian mystic and poet believed to have been born sometime between 1310 and 1337. He lived to the age of 69. Legend has it that Hafiz memorized the whole of the Koran, and over time "Hafiz" has become a noun used to describe someone who accomplishes this feat. Ralph Waldo Emerson translated Hafiz in the 19th century and called him "a poet for poets." Queen Victoria is said to have turned to Hafiz's poetry in times of stress and spiritual need.

Reportedly, Hafiz once said "I am a hole in the flute that the Christ's breath moves through-listen to this music." COOL! May we all be open passages for that breath, and not obstructions to its flow.

One of Hafiz's favorite metaphors for encountering the Divine is that wherever we are, we are in God's classroom, and that opportunities for learning Divine principles are constantly all around us. However, he also said that we cannot fully learn the ways of God through books or words or limited systems of human values. We know God fully only through love.

I came across this gem of a poem while reading this morning, and could not resist sharing it. I have tried, with limited success, to replicate the spacing in Ladinsky's translation.

For a While

We have all come to the right place.
We all sit in God's classroom.

The only thing left to us to do, my dear,

Is to stop.
Throwing spitballs for awhile.

Still learning,

Reverent Reader


At 10/31/07, 10:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Emerson's poem Brahma and was just enjoying it on the web. I am impressed by the fact that Ralph Waldo Emerson translated Hafiz and promoted him. I think the best thing about your post about Hafiz is your use of "Cool!"

At 11/1/07, 2:12 PM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Thanks for writing - I'm going to look up "Brahama" right now!

At 11/2/07, 9:19 AM , Anonymous nancita said...

Have got to get this book! Strikes me as perhaps a good gift for a young friend serving in Iraq. What do you think?

At 11/2/07, 10:08 AM , Blogger Reverent Reader said...

Yes, Nancita, that would make an excellent gift. The more I get into it, the more I like it. I've been using it a lot in private prayer and meditation.

At 11/5/07, 2:23 PM , Blogger LeAnn said...

Have you ever read Ladinski's other collection of Hafiz poems called The Gift? There is a poem in there call "The Sun In Drag" that has a line that says something like

"You are but a divine elephant with amnesia trying to live in an ant hole."


At 2/3/10, 12:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly believe that we have reached the point where technology has become one with our world, and I am fairly confident when I say that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory falls, the possibility of copying our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about every once in a while.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS FFV2)


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