Literary Silk Road - China and Middle East Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday]: Memories & Sorrows

poetry friday

Iphigene Here.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything here for Gathering Books, so I’m once again staking claim on our Poetry Friday post. We have, for the past month, exploring two major cultural, if not geographical, plains. It has so far been challenging to dig ones teeth through Chinese and Middle Eastern literature.


 However, the poetry is not as hard for me. I had an opportunity to “meet” Hafez, a Persian (Iranian) poet. His poetry has shaped and contributed a lot to Persian Literature, however, little is known of him. He is said to laud the joys of love and wine. Today, I share two poems of his—a longer one and a shorter one.


I had recently purchased some of Penguin’s Little Black Classic. One of them being was of Hafez’s poetry.  All the poems from this little ‘excerpt’ book came from a collection called, Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz. While there was a lot of wine, there was also a lot of longing. Of the few poems in this tiny book, my favorite was a short one.

What does life give me in the end but sorrow?

What do love’s good and evil send but sorrow?

I’ve only seen one true companion—pain,

And I have known no faithful friend by sorrow.

In parts I love the brevity of it and the weight of the words, but also because such words fit so perfectly into a modern day lyrics from an emo-rock band or just a plain old ballad. And maybe, I just really like how sorrowful it all is.  Below, is another poem from the poet. It’s longer, but equally lovely in its longing.



For more poems today, check our the Poetry Friday Round up at Jama Rattigan @ Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

12 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: Memories & Sorrows

  1. I love “only the wine would wink and grin”. There is lots of wine in these, but such a sweet voice, too, Iphigene. I’m shared the following poem with students because of that voice. Thanks for sharing more.


  2. Lots of wine and longing indeed! Thanks for the Hafiz fix today, Iphigene.


    • Hi Jama,
      You are most welcome! Hafez was such an interesting discovery…makes me sometimes wonder how much poetry and poets I’m missing out on.


  3. haitiruth

    Hey, we were on the same wavelength today!


  4. maryleehahn

    Thank you for a new-to-me poet!


  5. Thanks for sharing Hafez’s poetry, Iphogene. He’s new to me, but fascinating. =)


    • You are most welcome. He is a lovely discovery. I think when it comes to Middle Eastern poetry all i had was Gibran and Rumi. Discovery Hafez was a wonderful experience.


  6. oooh – thanks for the introduction, beautiful poem.


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