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The Gift


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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Life and Work of Hafiz
One: Startled by God
Startled by God
Let's Eat
When the Violin
Looking for Good Fish
A Hunting Party
This Sane Idea
We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners
I Can See Angels
You're It
I Rain
Two: I Have Learned So Much
I Have Learned So Much
God Just Came Near
The Sun Never Says
The Seed Cracked Open
Why Just Ask the Donkey
Who Wrote All the Music
Your Mother and My Mother
Mismatched Newlyweds
Your Seed Pouch
That Magnificent Storm
Three: Removing the Shoe from the Temple
Removing the Shoe from the Temple
Against My Own Hand
Out of This Mess
If God Invited You to a Party
To Build a Swing
A Crystal Rim
This One Is Mine
The Ear That Was Sold to a Fish
An Infant in Your Arms
Four: I Hold the Lion's Paw
I Hold the Lion's Paw
If the Falling of a Hoof
What the Hell
Someone Untied Your Camel
When I Want to Kiss God
For a Single Tear
That Shapes the Eye
So Many Gifts
Love Is the Funeral Pyre
Allah, Allah, Allah
Five: Don't Die Again
Don't Die Again
Like a Life-Giving Sun
The Great Work
Some Fill with Each Good Rain
The Vintage Man
Lifts beyond Conception
God's Bucket
Just Looking for Trouble
Six: The Gift
The Gift
Laughing at the Word Two
Life Starts Clapping
The Foundation for Greatness
Courteous to the Ant
His Winter Crop
The Scent of Light
No Conflict
Stop Calling Me a Pregnant Woman
A Strange Feather
Seven: I Am Really Just a Tambourine
I Am Really Just a Tambourine
The Stairway of Existence
What Do White Birds Say?
How Do I Listen?
The Earth Braces Itself
The Difference Between
The Angels Know You Well
Crooked Deals
The Millstone's Talents
Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover
Eight: Get the Blame Straight
Get the Blame Straight
Rewards for Clear Thinking
This Constant Yearning
The Sad Game
That Regal Coat
Stop Being So Religious
Friends Do Things Like This
It Felt Love
Look! I Am a Whale
Two Bears
The Sky Hunter
Forgive the Dream
Nine: The Prettiest Mule
The Prettiest Mule
Wise Men Keep Talking About
Back into Herself
The Mule Got Drunk and Lost in Heaven
Why Abstain?
The Warrior
Dividing God
I Saw Two Birds
Muhammad's Twin
Ten: Tiny Gods
Tiny Gods
This Union
When You Can Endure
This Talking Rag
Who Will Feed My Cat?
Burglars Hear Watchdogs
A Still Cup
That Lamp That Needs No Oil
Too Wonderful
Eleven: Elephant Wondering
Elephant Wondering
An Old Musician
The Fish and I Will Chat
The Heart Is Right
Out of God's Hat
The Clay Bowl's Destiny
I Hope You Won't Sue This Old Man
Faithful Lover
Now Is the Time
Twelve: Counting Moles
Counting Moles
The Body a Tree
A Great Need
There Could Be Holy Fallout
Trying to Wear Pants
This Sky
It Is Unanimous
Two Puddles Chatting
His Ballet Company
Thirteen: Reverence
That Tree We Planted
I Vote for You for God
A One-Story House
The Great Religions
What Happens to the Guest
I Want Both of Us
Like Passionate Lips
Cucumbers and Prayers
Fourteen: A Cushion for Your Head
A Cushion for Your Head
These Beautiful Love Games
The Bag Lady
The Ambience of Love
Tired of Speaking Sweetly
A Root in Each Act and Creature
Our Hearts Should Do This More
Turn Left a Thousand Feet from Here
Imagination Does Not Exist
Throw Me on a Scale
The Hatcheck Girl
Damn Thirsty
Fifteen: Two Giant Fat People
Two Giant Fat People
Scratching My Back
If You Don't Stop That
A Hole in a Flute
Why Aren't We Screaming Drunks?
Dropping Keys
All the Talents of God
The Great Expanse
I Imagine Now for Ages
Sixteen: Spiced Manna
Spiced Manna
A Hard Decree
And For No Reason
Sometimes I Say to a Poem
The Suburbs
She Responded
We Might Have to Medicate You
The Idiot's Warehouse
When You Wake
This Teaching Business Isn't Easy
The Mountain Got Tired of Sitting
Seventeen: Where Is the Door to the Tavern?
Where Is the Door to the Tavern?
Becoming Human
In Need of the Breath
The Heart's Coronation
The Thousand-Stringed Instrument
Then Winks
And Then You Are
The Intelligent Man
The Chorus in the Eye
Find a Better Job
The Lute Will Beg
Eighteen: When the Sun Conceived a Man
When the Sun Conceived a Man
A Mime
The Quintessence of Loneliness
Needing a Mirror
The Tender Mouth
Greeting God
Reaching Toward the Millet Fields
Nineteen: Lousy at Math
Lousy at Math
The Sun in Drag
Between Our Poles
Stay Close to Those Sounds
An Invisible Pile of Wood
It Has Not Rained Light
No More Leaving
What Should We Do about That Moon?
Twenty: Cupping My Hands Like a Mountain Valley
Cupping My Hands Like a Mountain Valley
Why Not Be Polite
Twenty-one: The God Who Only Knows Four Words
The God Who Only Knows Four Words
You Were Brave in That Holy War
Bring the Man to Me
Too Beautiful
My Eyes So Soft
The Diamond Takes Shape
That Does Perish
Chain You to My Body
Covers Her Face with Both Hands
Dog's Love
Twenty-two: Stay with Us
Stay with Us
I Am Full of Love Tonight
Many Lives Ago
It Will Stretch Out Its Leg
Some of the Planets Are Hosting
What Is the Root?
The Same Suntan
For Three Days
Twenty-three: A Clever Piece of Mutton
A Clever Piece of Mutton
Who Can Hear the Buddha Sing?
Buttering the Sky
How Fascinating
Where Great Lions Love to Piss
A Potent Lover
An Astronomical Question
I Wish I Could Speak Like Music
In a Circus Booth
Maybe Even Lucrative
Twenty-four: The Silk Mandala
The Silk Mandala
A Forest Herb
Your Camel Is Loaded to Sing
Stealing Back the Flute
Where the Drum Lost Its Mind
Every City Is a Dulcimer
Between Your Eye and This Page
Practice This New Birdcall
Twenty-five: I Know I Was the Water
I Know I Was the Water
With That Moon Language
Without Brushing My Hair
When Space Is Not Rationed
Birds of Passage
Act Great
The Only Material
I Got Kin
Only One Rule
Your Thousand Limbs
And Love Says

About the Author

Daniel Ladinsky is an acclaimed poet and renderer of mystical poetry. His books include The Gift, The Subject Tonight Is Love, I Heard God Laughing, A Year with Hafiz, Love Poems from God, The Purity of Desire, and Darling, I Love You. For six years, he made his home in a spiritual community in western India, where he worked and lived with the intimate disciples and family of Avatar Meher Baba. He lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


"These stirring poems, originally written by a 14th century Persian mystic, get me closer to the divine, and more immediately, than anything in the world.... Open to any page to be transported into magic." 
—Elizabeth Gilbert, Bustle

“There are universes inside Hafiz, a lineage of masters. Daniel Ladinsky follows the playfulness; the rascal moves well.” 
—Coleman Barks

“With this stunning collection of Hafiz’s most intimate poems, Ladinsky has succeeded brilliantly in presenting the essence of one of Islam’s greatest poetic and religious voices. Each line of The Gift imparts the wonderful qualities of this master Sufi poet and spiritual teacher: encouragement, an audacious love that touches lives, profound knowledge, generosity, and a sweet, playful genius unparalleled in world literature.”

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