Posts Tagged ‘a year with hafiz’

Winding up the year with inspiration from Hafiz

December 29, 2014

We are coming to the end of the year 2014. It seemed like a rough one for many, personally, and collectively for the world. I’ve finished reading A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. There is usually one poem a day per page. It was a gift from friend and author Steven Verney. Here are 3 poems towards the end of the book, end of the year, that talk about endings, and, in a way, new beginnings. May they inspire you as we transition into the new year, and for some, into a new life in 2015.

A Prayer I Sometimes Say

It is the Beloved who is revealed in every
face, sought in every sign,

gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in
every object that is adored, pursued in the
visible and in the unseen.

Not a single one of His creatures, not a
single one, my dears, will

fail to someday find the divine Source
in all of its primordial and glorious nature.

And be forever united with the Infinite,
because that—God—is really you.

Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, look what your
words have become—the restoration of
Truth, the regeneration of Life itself.

December 23, page 391

* * * * *

The Tender Mouth Of The Earth

What will the burial of my body be? The
pouring of a sacred cup of wine into the earth’s

tender mouth and making my dear sweet lover
laugh one more time.

What is the passing of a body? The glorious
lifting of the spirit into the sacred arms of the

Sky, and making existence smile, one more, one
more time.

December 28, page 396

* * * * *

A River Understands

I used to know my name. Now I don’t. I
think a river understands me.

For what does it call itself in that blessed
moment when it starts emptying into the
Infinite Luminous Sea,

and opening every aspect of self wider than
it ever thought possible?

Each drop of itself now running to embrace
and unite with a million new friends.

And you were there, in my union with All,
everyone who will ever see this page.

December 29, page 397

* * * * *

One poem about a river is beautifully told by William Stafford in his poem, Ask Me, where he looks to the stillness in the river to inform him, and the person asking him about his life, and, in a way, the creative process in the moment. Another poem of his, Something That Happens Right Now, also leaves you with a similar unbounded feeling as this last Hafiz poem does.

See other inspiring poems by Hafiz, translated by Ladinsky, posted here.

Hafiz said to leave something in the marketplace, and Jesse Winchester sure did before he left us.

April 23, 2014

Hafiz’s poem, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, of leaving something behind in the world to inspire others, is exemplified in the singer/songwriting musical skills of the late Jesse Winchester. Read Hafiz’s poem, Leave something in the marketplace, then listen and be moved when Jesse sings this love song, Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding.

Leave something in the marketplace

Sometimes it can happen to these cheeks
when a poem visits my mind for the first time
and begins to look around.

They can wonder why rain is falling on them,
and causing my nose to run too.

O boy, what a mess love makes of me. But
there is nothing else right now I would rather

be doing . . . than reaping something from a
field in another dimension

and leaving it in the marketplace for any who
might happen by.

Leave something in the marketplace for us
before you leave this world.

A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations
Daniel Ladinsky, March 20, page 88.
See more profound poems by Hafiz posted on this blog.

Singer/songwriter Jesse Winchester (May 17, 1944 – April 11, 2014) left many beautiful songs for us in the marketplace. Here’s one that will also make your cheeks wet and lift your mouth into a wistful smile as he sings about the sweet shyness of young love on Week 2 of Elvis Costello’s TV show, Spectacle. Listen to the poetic melodic musings of Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding.

I met Jesse in Montreal during the summer of 1967, shortly after he left the US to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War, which he didn’t support. He stayed and made a name for himself as a fine singer/songwriter. Robbie Robertson of The Band produced Jesse’s first album. He couldn’t return to the states to tour until after all draft dodgers were pardoned by President Carter. But many top recording artists would go on to perform Jesse’s songs, and he became known as a first-rate songwriter. Even Bob Dylan was famously quoted as saying of Mr. Winchester: “You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him.” In 2007, Mr. Winchester was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from performing rights organization ASCAP for his body of work.

I met Jesse decades later when he was touring through Iowa. It was sweet to see him again, finally being recognized for the talent he was, and for him to freely return home. Here is some news coverage of Jesse’s recent passing, reviewing his life and career, in The Commercial Appeal, USA Today, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and C-Ville Weekly. From all his fans, and friends who knew him, I’m sure they would agree with Hafiz that Jesse Winchester did leave a lot of good music in the marketplace, and love in their hearts. You did well, Jesse. Thank you!

Jesse Winchester Radio Special: Listen to a special 2007 radio interview and music special with Jesse Winchester recorded by Donna Green-Townsend for WUFT-FM before Jesse’s scheduled performance at the Butterfly Festival in Gainesville, FL. In this program Jesse talked about his early years in Mississippi and Memphis, the inspiration for many of his songs and what he thinks about the music industry today. He also talks about the number of artists who have recorded many of his songs including Wynonna Judd, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Elvis Costello and many more. RIP Jesse.

Roots Music Canada uploaded a Jesse Winchester interview on April 13, 2010 with RMC’s editor-in-chief David Newland, from Hugh’s Room, Toronto, a venue Jesse launched about a decade ago, and one for which he has the highest regard.

Roots Music Canada produced a show on April 16, 2014: Remembering Jesse Winchester, of him and other artists singing his songs. To see the song list click on Playlist: Folk Roots/Folk Branches – Remembering Jesse Winchester. Jesse Winchester sings a slower version of Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding on his album Love Filling Station (Appleseed) with a backup group. I prefer the solo performance.


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