untitled poem by Jahan Malek Khatun

Your face usurps the fiery glow and hue
of roses;
And with your face here, what have I to do
with roses?

Your ringlets’ fragrance is so sweet, my friend,
No fragrant rose-scent could entice me to
seek roses–

Besides, the faithless roses’ scent will fade,
Which is a serious drawback, in my view
of roses;

And if the waters of eternal life
Had touched their roots, so that they bloomed anew,
these roses,

When could they ever form a bud as sweet
As your small mouth, which is more trim and true
than roses?

translated by Dick Davis

from Jahan Malek Khatun: 2

I told my heart, “I can’t endure this tyranny!
He’s nothing, no one! What’s this bully’s love to me?”
My little heart, you’re like a boundless sea, it seems;
And common sense? A splinter somewhere on that sea.

translated by Dick Davis

advice from Hafez

My friend, hold back your heart from enemies,
Drink shining wine with handsome friends like these;
With art’s initiates undo your collar–
Stay buttoned up with ignoramuses.

translated by Dick Davis

from The Golestan by Sa’di

I held in my hand a perfumed piece of clay
that came to me from a beloved’s hand.
I asked it, “Are you musk or ambergris?
Like fine wine, your smell intoxicates me.”

“I was,” it said, “a loathsome lump of clay
till someone set me down beside a rose.
Then my companion’s scent seeped into me.
Otherwise, I am only the earth I am.”


courtesy of my friend Richard Newman