This deliriously enchanting collection of 250 poems is one of the best books of 1999. Hafiz (1320-1389), according to Daniel Ladinsky, is "one of the greatest spiritual friends, lovers, and guides that humankind has ever known." He spent five years translating these ecstatic poems of this Sufi master who is considered to be the most beloved poet of Persia. Fans of Rumi will rejoice upon meeting another mystic who is so God-intoxicated that he is always looking for fresh ways to describe the inimitable love of the Holy One.
"We have not come here to take prisoners," writes Hafiz, "but to surrender ever more deeply to freedom and joy." The poet celebrates the divine in everyday life where God is a gift-giver: "Everything I have is also yours." There is a playful exuberance in Hafiz's view of grace where images of dancing, partying, and having fun abound.
In "Your Mother and My Mother," the poet writes: "Fear is the cheapest room in the house. / I would like to see you living / In better conditions." Elsewhere Hafiz compares those who play the blame game or are always complaining as individuals "living in the suburbs of God." We were especially pleased to see the poet's affirmation of the spiritual practices of listening, kindness, devotion, and reverence. At one point, Hafiz says he is willing to share all his secrets about how to befriend God. That promise is fulfilled abundantly in this astonishing collection of spiritual poems!