Monday, April 18, 2016

Fakhruddin Iraqi - The tavern of ruin

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - "Allegory of Worldly and Otherworldly Drunkenness", Folio from the Divan of Hafiz 


 “I went down last night to the tavern of ruin,
but no one admitted me.
I stood without, clamouring and crying,
but no one heard me.
Of the wine sellers there, either none were awake,
or else being ‘no-one’,
no-one was there to open the door for me.
Half the night had passed,
when some wild rogue from an archway overhead looked down
and made a face.
‘Bravo, bravo,’ he exclaimed,
‘at this hour, you’re quite senseless, in fact crazy.
Well and fine! Please tell me what’s the matter?’
‘Open the door!’ I demanded.
‘Go away!’ he replied, ‘Don’t talk nonsense.
Anyway, at this time of night,
whoever would open the door for the likes of you?
This is no mosque,
for us always to open the door for you,
for you to dash in and run up to the front aisle.
This is the Magian  temple of ruin.
Inside are living hearts,
the place of the “witness”
and candle,
the wine
and ghazal,
the lute
and the song.
Money and wit carry no weight beneath these arches;
its tenants’ profit is all loss,
and their loss, all profit.
How long shall you keep pounding on this door day and night,
’Iraqi?
For all your fire, nothing is visible but smoke.’”



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