The following poem, written by adored Sufi poet Hafiz, was written in Persia in the mid 1300’s and was translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Hafiz was a Sufi master and a prolific poet, writing over 5,000 poems during his life. The power of his poetry is that it seems to transcend place, time, and religion, to resonate so beautifully across the world to this day. “The extraordinary verses bestow a precious knowledge. With wonderful–at times outrageous–genius Hafiz brings us nearer to God,” writes Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift.

This poem perfectly exemplifies Hafiz’s playful and devout writing style and shows how he found joy to be a sacred pursuit.


To Build a Swing

You  carry
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare–
Don’t mix them!

You have all the genius
To build a swing in your backyard
For God.

That sounds
Like a hell of a lot more fun.
Let’s start laughing, drawing blueprints,
Gathering our talented friends.

I will help you
With my divine lyre and drum.

Will sing a thousand words
You can take into your hands,
Like golden saws,
Silver hammers,

Polished teakwood,
Strong silk rope.

You carry all the ingredients
To turn your existence into joy,

Mix them, mix


This post was written by Sophie Stockum. All information was taken from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

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