Hafiz


And Applaud

Once a young man came to me and said,

“Dear Master,
I am feeling strong and brave today,
And I would like to know the truth
About all of my–attachments.”

And I replied,

“Attachments?
Attachments!

Sweet Heart,
Do you really want me to speak to you
About all your attachments,

When I can see so clearly
You have built, with so much care,
Such a great brothel
To house all of your pleasures.

You have even surrounded the whole damn place
With armed guards and vicious dogs
To protect your desires

So that you can sneak away
From time to time
And try to squeeze light
Into your parched being
From a source as fruitful
As a dried pit
That even a bird
Is wise enough to spit out.

Your attachments! My dear,
Let’s not speak of those,

For Hafiz understands the sufferings
Of your heart.

Hafiz knows
The torments and the agonies
every mind on the way to Annihilation in the Sun
Must endure.

So at night in my prayers I often stop
And ask a thousand angels to join in
And Applaud,

And Applaud
Anything,
Anything in this world
That can bring your heart comfort!”

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Leonard Nathan

“So?”

So you aren’t Tolstoy or St. Francis
or even a well-known singer
of popular songs and will never read Greek
or speak French fluently,
will never see something no one else
has seen before through a lens
or with the naked eye.

You’ve been given just the one life
in this world that matters
and upon which every other life
somehow depends as long as you live,
and also given the costly gifts of hunger,
choice, and pain with which to raise
a modest shrine to meaning.