Hafiz Lives!

What is it about these old Sufi poets that their magic continues even today?
A conspiracy between a translator, a bookstore and poetry-loving friends blows a Tuesday evening dinner in Chapel Hill into the spirit realm.


Bhavani is a friend who loves and creates poetry, so for her birthday, I went to a bookstore and got two Ladinsky-translated books of Hafiz poems. The Gift is a collection, and A Year With Hafiz has a poem for each day of the year. Before I take The Gift into the restaurant, while appreciating a colorful sunset, I just open the book and read the first poem my eyes find. It is “I am really just a tambourine.”

Makes the universe admit a
“I am
Really just a tambourine.
Grab hold.
Play me
Against your warm

Before presenting the book to her as a gift, I read that poem. Being a percussionist, she especially likes the image of playing against her warm thigh! Then she reveals that she already has that book.  So I go back out to the car and get  A Year With Hafiz to give her instead. After a toast, she decides to read the poem for her birthday. It is the same poem!


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.

One Comment

  1. rebekah bhavani crisp

    God melted like wax on the top of my birth day,
    heat pooled around the foot of light
    sweetness whispered herself up to melt with Him.
    We have all aged a moment in this millennium since
    we began the dance merging layers into celebration
    and candles into the sun.

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