Category Archives: Hafez

Advanced Propulsion from a 14th Century Iranian

Before reading this poem, it may help to know “green-hand Khezr” refers to a character in Islamic mythology, ‘a green man from beneath whose feet lush green plants would spring’… (

Ghazal 164:

I see no love in anyone. Where have all the lovers gone?
When did friendship come to an end? What made our friends pass on?
Life’s water has blackened. Where is green-hand Khezr to deliver the land?
The red has been bled from the rosebush. Where are the winds of spring and dawn?
Now no one says: “our friends have a right to our support.” What happened
To those who know what’s right? Where have the righteous lovers gone?
For years not a single ruby has come from chivalry’s buried lode.
Where are the strains of breeze and rain? Where is the beat of the sun?
This was a city of lovers, once, this realm a land of kindness.
When did kindness end? What toppled sweetness from the throne?
The ball of gracious statesmanship rolls on an empty polo-field.
No player dares strike it. What has brought our mounted champions down?
A million roses bloomed, not one bird rose singing for them.
What stopped a thousand nightengales? What happened to their sound?
The spheres cannot sing. Has Venus herself incinerated her lute?
No one can think of drinking. Where have the rowdy winelovers gone?
Silence, Hafez! Nobody knows the secret turns of Heaven.
Who is it you are asking “How has the wheel of fortune spun?”?

Ghazal 164 – “Where Have All The Lovers Gone?” Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Commentary by Foreman: “I like to think that this poem was written after the fall of the Inju dynasty, when the poet’s hometown of Shiraz came under the Muzaffarids and the wine-taverns were closed. The first Muzaffarid ruler Amīr Mubāriz-al-Dīn executed Hafiz’ previous patron and ruled in a puritanical, pietistic and cruel manner that might best be described as “teetotalitarian.” In contrast to the freedom of the reign of the Injuids, the stifling religiosity of Mubāriz-al-dīn’s reign lead to the closing of wineshops, the curtailment of public singing and the enforcement of religious orthopraxy. It is a weirdly happy irony in the 21st century that Iran’s most famous poet seems to have hated the tyranny of a theocrat who attempted to legislate the people’s spiritual lives. “

The Original:

یاری اندر کس نمی‌بینیم یاران را چه شد
دوستی کی آخر آمد دوستداران را چه شد
آب حیوان تیره گون شد خضر فرخ پی کجاست
خون چکید از شاخ گل باد بهاران را چه شد
کس نمی‌گوید که یاری داشت حق دوستی
حق شناسان را چه حال افتاد یاران را چه شد
لعلی از کان مروت برنیامد سال‌هاست
تابش خورشید و سعی باد و باران را چه شد
شهر یاران بود و خاک مهربانان این دیار
مهربانی کی سر آمد شهریاران را چه شد
گوی توفیق و کرامت در میان افکنده‌اند
کس به میدان در نمی‌آید سواران را چه شد
صد هزاران گل شکفت و بانگ مرغی برنخاست
عندلیبان را چه پیش آمد هزاران را چه شد
زهره سازی خوش نمی‌سازد مگر عودش بسوخت
کس ندارد ذوق مستی میگساران را چه شد
حافظ اسرار الهی کس نمی‌داند خموش
از که می‌پرسی که دور روزگاران را چه شد

Foreman’s remarkable blog:

There’s been some flat out god awful poetry floating around – inflicted upon us – by sheer egoists with zero taste coupled with such narcissism it prohibits reflective self-improvement…if…you find yourself compelled to write poetry about space exploration, and, share it with others, at space events, in videos, for whatever reason – PLEASE – acquaint yourself with Hafez. First. Please.