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The Song of Praise

Thank God the tavern door is still open,

          and the hearts of the rendan in the world

are still confidants

          of the divine mysteries.

The fire of wine gave our being

          to the winds of effacement,

yet our yearning heart

          still burns.

The taste for madness

          does not forbid the worship of wine;

the crazed heart

          is still allowed to follow this tradition.

So many tales fade

          from memory,

but the legend of Mahmud and Ayaz

          remains etched on the seal of love.

O cupbearer, pass the wine!

          The Beloved is flirtatiously ignoring us,

for in our intoxication

          we are still conscious of our neediness.

Although the musician of our assembly

          is bereft of self,

the heart’s ear is still captive

          to the melody of the lute.

From within the vat’s heart,

          Nurbakhsh heard the call to prayer.

The mullah, however, was saying,

          “Wait, it’s not yet the time for prayer!”

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