I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that certain things are worth doing, but just not right now. I can’t lay hands on an old article that put the idea so well, but the gist was something like this: we say that we want to eat beautiful vegetables, go for a nice long run, and then watch an Ingmar Bergman film, but what we want right now is a wide wedge of salted-caramel chocolate cake, a comfy couch, and the latest Avengers movie.
One of those “not right now” things for me is poetry.* I like the idea of reading profound poetry, but if it’s valuable, there’s a good chance that it’s going to be hard work, and too often I’m not looking for more of that.
Still, sometimes a poem finds me, and I’m greatly enriched. I have my new daughter† Ginger to thank for this one. I like it ever so much. Ḥāfiz, a fourteenth century Persian poet,◊ gives us these thoughts:
The God Who Only Knows Four Words
I’d like to hear it in the original Persian, but I’m quite happy with the sounds it makes in my head as I picture God inviting me to dance, and dance, and dance.
*I’m talking about poetry as distinct from greeting card text. Whether it rhymes isn’t as important as whether it moves.
†She married Fiddler a little over a year ago, so she’s my daughter-in-law, but I don’t need the distinction. I’m very glad to have added her to the family without morning sickness or labor pains.
◊Also spelled Ḥāfeẓ; his full name is Moḥammad Shams al-Dīn Ḥāfeẓ. The poem was translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
[Images: moma.org, boxofstolensocks.com, wikipedia]