The Gift [NOOK Book]


Chosen by author Elizabeth Gilbert as one of her ten favorite books, Daniel Ladinsky’s extraordinary renderings of 250 unforgettable lyrical poems by Hafiz, one of the greatest Sufi poets of all time

More than any other Persian poeteven RumiHafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the "Invisible Tongue." Indeed, Daniel ...
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The Gift

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Chosen by author Elizabeth Gilbert as one of her ten favorite books, Daniel Ladinsky’s extraordinary renderings of 250 unforgettable lyrical poems by Hafiz, one of the greatest Sufi poets of all time

More than any other Persian poeteven RumiHafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the "Invisible Tongue." Indeed, Daniel Ladinsky has said that his work with Hafiz is an attempt to do the impossible: to render Light into wordsto make the Luminous Resonance of God tangible to our finite senses.

I am
a hole in a flute
that the Christ's breath moves

listen to this

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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Editorial Reviews

Sandra Marshall
For those initiated in colder faces of worship, this Sufi's passionate freedom as God's loving partner is beyond heartwarming; reinvigorate yourself y opening any page and accepting its call. >br>— Napra Review
Kirkus Reviews
The Gift ( paperback original; Aug.; 326 pp.; 0-14-019581-5): A worthy companion volume to Coleman Banks's new translation of Rumi (The Glance, see below). It collects 250 poems written by Muhammad Hafiz (1320–89), the most popular and highly revered poet in Persian history, and renders them into a fresh translation from the Farsi. Like Rumi, Hafiz writes out of the Sufi tradition, and his work bears the Sufi hallmarks of ecstatic spirituality conveyed at once through lush imagery and verbal restraint. His fabulistic, almost didactic style can sound a bit flat at times ("How / Do I / Listen to others? / As if everyone were my Master / Speaking to me / His / Last / Words"), but there is a religious intensity in his work that is equally fresh and naive ("When no one is looking and I want / To kiss / God / I just lift my own hand / To / My / Mouth") and quite unlike anything found in the Western tradition (though modern minimalists such as Robert Lax come close). A fine preface by Ladinsky and an excellent introduction by Henry S. Mindlin.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101100332
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1999
  • Series: Compass
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 277,076
  • File size: 786 KB

Meet the Author

Daniel Ladinsky has published three previous translations of Hafiz's poems, The Gift, The Subject Tonight Is Love, and I Heard God Laughing, as well as a collection of translations of poems by twelve mystics and saints, Love Poems From God. His most recent collection is The Purity of Desire: 100 Poems of Rumi. 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.
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Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: The Life and Work of Hafiz 7
1 Startled by God
Startled by God 21
Let's Eat 22
When the Violin 23
Looking for Good Fish 24
A Hunting Party 26
This Sane Idea 27
We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners 28
I Can See Angels 29
You're It 30
I Rain 31
2 I Have Learned So Much
I Have Learned So Much 32
God Just Came Near 33
The Sun Never Says 34
The Seed Cracked Open 35
Why Just Ask the Donkey 36
Who Wrote All the Music 38
Your Mother and My Mother 39
Mismatched Newlyweds 40
Your Seed Pouch 41
That Magnificent Storm 42
3 Removing the Shoe from the Temple
Removing the Shoe from the Temple 43
Against My Own Hand 45
Out of This Mess 46
If God Invited You to a Party 47
To Build a Swing 48
A Crystal Rim 49
This One Is Mine 50
Curfews 51
The Ear That Was Sold to a Fish 52
An Infant in Your Arms 56
4 I Hold the Lion's Paw
I Hold the Lion's Paw 57
If the Falling of a Hoof 59
What the Hell 61
Someone United Your Camel 62
When I Want to Kiss God 64
For a Single Tear 65
That Shapes the Eye 66
So Many Gifts 67
Love Is the Funeral Pyre 69
Allah, Allah, Allah 70
5 Don't Die Again
Don't Die Again 71
Like a Life-Giving Sun 73
The Great Work 74
Effacement 75
Some Fill with Each Good Rain 76
The Vintage Man 77
Everywhere 78
Lifts beyond Conception 79
God's Bucket 81
Just Looking for Trouble 82
6 The Gift
The Gift 83
Laughing at the Word Two 84
Life Starts Clapping 85
The Foundation for Greatness 86
Courteous to the Ant 87
His Winter Crop 88
The Scent of Light 90
No Conflict 91
Stop Calling Me a Pregnant Woman 92
A Strange Feather 94
7 I am Really Just a Tambourine
I Am Really Just a Tambourine 95
The Stairway of Existence 96
What Do White Birds Say 97
How Do I Listen? 99
The Earth Braces Itself 100
The Difference Between 102
The Angels Know You Well 107
Crooked Deals 108
The Millstone's Talents 109
Let Thought Become Your Beautiful Lover 110
8 Get the Blame Straight
Get the Blame Straight 111
Rewards for Clear Thinking 113
Please 115
This Constant Yearning 116
The Sad Game 117
That Regal Coat 118
Stop Being So Religious 119
Friends Do Things Like This 120
It Felt Love 121
Look! I Am a Whale 122
Two Bears 123
The Sky Hunter 124
Forgive the Dream 125
9 The Prettiest Mule
The Prettiest Mule 127
Today 128
Wise Men Keep Talking About 129
Back into Herself 131
The Mule Got Drunk and Lost in Heaven 132
Why Abstain? 134
The Warrior 135
Dividing God 136
I Saw Two Birds 138
Muhammad's Twin 139
10 Tiny Gods
Tiny Gods 140
This Union 142
When You Can Endure 143
This Talking Rag 144
Who Will Feed My Cat? 145
Burglars Hear Watchdogs 146
A Still Cup 147
That Lamp That Needs No Oil 148
Too Wonderful 149
11 Elephant Wondering
Elephant Wondering 150
An Old Musician 151
The Fish and I Will Chat 152
The Heart Is Right 153
Out of God's Hat 154
The Clay Bowl's Destiny 157
I Hope You Won't Sue This Old Man 158
Faithful Lover 159
Now Is the Time 160
12 Counting Moles
Counting Moles 162
Hafiz 163
The Body a Tree 164
A Great Need 165
There Could Be Holy Fallout 166
Trying to Wear Pants 168
This Sky 169
It is Unanimous 170
Two Puddles Chatting 171
His Ballet Company 172
13 Reverence
Reverence 173
That Tree We Planted 174
I Vote for You for God 175
A One-Story House 176
The Great Religions 177
What Happens to the Guest 178
I Want Both of Us 180
Like Passionate Lips 181
Cucumbers and Prayers 182
14 A Cushion for Your Head
A Cushion for Your Head 183
These Beautiful Love Games 184
The Bag Lady 185
The Ambience of Love 186
Tired of Speaking Sweetly 187
A Root in Each Act and Creature 189
Our Hearts Should Do This More 191
Turn Left a Thousand Feet from Here 192
Imagination Does Not Exist 194
Throw Me on a Scale 195
The Hatcheck Girl 197
Damn Thirsty 198
15 Two Giant Fat People
Two Giant Fat People 199
Scratching My Back 200
If You Don't Stop That 201
Elegance 202
A Hole in a Flute 203
Until 204
Why Aren't We Screaming Drunks? 205
Dropping Keys 206
All the Talents of God 207
The Great Expanse 208
I Imagine Now for Ages 209
16 Spiced Manna
Spiced Manna 210
A Hard Decree 212
And For No Reason 213
Sometimes I Say to a Poem 214
The Suburbs 215
She Responded 216
We Might Have to Medicate You 217
The Idiot's Warehouse 218
When You Wake 219
This Teaching Business Isn't Easy 220
The Mountain Got Tired of Sitting 221
17 Where is the Door to the Tavern?
Where Is the Door to the Tavern? 222
Becoming Human 223
In Need of the Breath 225
The Heart's Coronation 227
The Thousand-Stringed Instrument 228
Then Winks 229
And Then You Are 230
The Intelligent Man 231
The Chorus in the Eye 232
Find a Better Job 234
The Lute Will Beg 235
18 When the Sun Conceived A Man
When the Sun Conceived a Man 236
A Mime 239
The Quintessence of Loneliness 241
Needing a Mirror 243
Zikr 244
The Tender Mouth 246
Greeting God 247
Reaching Toward the Millet Fields 248
19 Lousy at Math
Lousy at Math 250
The Sun in Drag 252
Between Our Poles 253
Stay Close to Those Sounds 254
An Invisible Pile of Wood 255
It Has Not Rained Light 256
Berserk 257
No More Leaving 258
Wow 259
What Should We Do about That Moon? 260
20 Cupping My Hands Like a Mountain Valley
Cupping My Hands Like a Mountain Valley 261
Why Not Be Polite 269
21 The God Who Only Knows Four Words
The God Who Only Knows Four Words 270
You Were Brave in That Holy War 271
Bring the Man to Me 273
Too Beautiful 276
My Eyes So Soft 277
The Diamond Takes Shape 278
That Does Perish 279
Chain You to My Body 280
Covers Her Face with Both Hands 281
Dog's Love 282
22 Stay With Us
Stay with Us 284
I Am Full of Love Tonight 286
Many Lives Ago 288
It Will Stretch Out Its Leg 289
Some of the Planets Are Hosting 291
What Is the Root? 293
The Same Suntan 294
For Three Days 295
23 A Clever Piece of Mutton
A Clever Piece of Mutton 297
Who Can Hear the Buddha Sing? 298
Buttering the Sky 300
How Fascinating 301
Where Great Lions Love to Piss 302
A Potent Lover 303
An Astronomical Question 304
I Wish I Could Speak Like Music 305
In a Circus Booth 306
Maybe Even Lucrative 307
Troubled 308
24 The Silk Mandala
The Silk Mandala 309
A Forest Herb 310
Your Camel Is Loaded to Sing 311
Stealing Back the Flute 312
Where the Drum Lost Its Mind 313
Every City Is a Dulcimer 315
Ruin 317
Between Your Eye and This Page 318
Practice This New Birdcall 319
25 I Know I was the Water
I Know I Was the Water 320
With That Moon Language 322
Without Brushing My Hair 323
Integrity 324
There 325
When Space Is Not Rationed 326
Birds of Passage 327
Act Great 328
The Only Material 329
I Got Kin 330
Only One Rule 331
Your Thousand Limbs 332
And Love Says 333
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    The reason I give this work only one star is not because the poems aren't enjoyable, but that they are not from the collection of poems by Hafiz. As an Iranian academic once pointed out in a review of this book, there is not a single poem in the Divan of Hafiz that bears any resemblance to any poem in this book. It would be far more accurate to say that these poems were 'inspired' by Hafiz, rather than being translations. The author may be an inspired poet, but he does not know Persian, and has not translated any of these poems, nor has even stayed relatively true to the English translations available. For individuals looking for the real poetry from Hafiz, look at 'The Grean Sea of Heaven' or Peter Avery's new collection 'The Collected Lyrics of Hafiz of Shiraz.'

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    "The Gift" Speaks Timeless Beauty

    The poems of Hafiz are beautiful, timeless and life-affirming. I usually read one or two poems at a time and then savor them for the rest of the day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Beyond Rumi

    Hafiz has a gift for finding the Cosmic in the beauties of nature and the most delicate of human emotions -- and also in very mundane, ordinary-life circumstances. Sometimes he presents it all in terms as esoteric as Rumi, and sometimes with rich, earthy humor all his own; but always with a grace that delights both eye and ear. This book is truly A Gift....(pun intended).

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    My Favorite Book!

    I love this collection. It runs the gamut of feelings about connection and life. I reference it often, and find inspiration and comfort in every page. It is especially wonderful to have on my Nook and iPhone, where I have it always available.

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    My absolute favorite book of poetry!

    I love this book so much that I've given it as a gift several times to friends I knew would (and did) love it. I love Hafiz (and Rumi, and many other inspired poets) and I find myself enjoying Landinsky's translations the best. For me, he captures the passion of the composer and conveys it to the reader.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Ecstatic Poetry at its best!

    This is the most moving poetry I have yet to find.
    "Even after all this time
    Does the Sun ever say to Earth
    You owe me?"
    A totally new way to see how mankind fits into the big picture.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A favorite

    Hafiz swept into my life about 10 years ago. I had seen him in my peripheral vision growing up. But one day he burst through the doors and strode into my life never to leave! And I am glad.

    The wisdom and beauty of this translation has help me through many a rough time. The constant reminder from so many points of view, that no one can stop you from carrying god, or saying the name of god, sometimes is all that we need to make us lift our eyes from the mud to see the wonder of creation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2007

    The Christ's Breath is Here

    Hafiz (c.1320-1389) sometimes spelled 'Hafez', says in this book, 'I am a hole in a flute that the Christ's breath moves through--listen to this music.' What an extraordinary claim that is, that my heart feels is true--for the wonder and magnificent gift of any great poet is to somehow touch our souls with God's hand--with divine music. The Gift has been considered one of the best-selling spiritual poetry books in the English language for nearly a decade now. It's showing all the signs of becoming a lasting, well-deserved classic. In these brilliant, deeply tender, witty and full-hearted renderings, Ladinsky releases the true spirit of this most beloved Persian poet and spiritual teacher and makes him fully accessible to our times. Hafiz has influenced and nourished many writers, poets and scholars through the centuries, including Nietzsche, Byron, Hugo, Lorca, Goethe and Emerson. If you're interested in knowing more about some of these eminent poets own words about translation/renderings, please read on, below, following some of these shorter gems from THE GIFT..... THE SUN NEVER SAYS: Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky. THE SCENT OF LIGHT: Like a great starving beast my body is quivering, fixed on the scent of Light. YOU'RE IT: God, disguised as a myriad things and playing a game of tag, has kissed you and said 'You're it --- I mean you're Really IT! Now it does not matter what you believe or feel, for something wonderful, major-league wonderful, is someday going to happen. I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH: I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew. The Truth has shared so much of Itself with my heart that I can no longer think of myself as a man, a woman, an angel or even pure soul. Reality has befriended me so deeply -- it has freed my mind of every concept and image I have ever known. For those interested in the conversation that goes back and forth about the legitimacy of renderings and translations of Hafiz, this may be helpful information: Professor R. A. Nicholson's scholarly work with Hafiz in the late 1800's and later, that of Professor A.J. Arberry, have long been considered the gold standard of Hafiz's literal translations in to the English language. In a 1948 review of Arberry's translations, Harvard Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Eric Schroeder, praises Arberry's work and agrees with him about the difficulty of presenting this greatest Persian poet to English speaking minds. 'For Hafiz' beautiful verbal surface is too complex to retain the felicity of poetry when fully rendered into English. The acoustic structure of English equivalents, it is superfluous to say, could never echo the flawless music of the Persian words.' Schroeder's review states too, 'The only service of translation is to make the foreign poet a poet of one's own country.' Goethe translated Hafiz and said of him...'Hafiz had no peer!' Of the task of translating, Goethe says, 'I revere the rhythm as well as the rhyme, by which poetry first becomes poetry but that which is really, deeply and fundamentally effective--what is really permanent and furthering--is what remains of the poet when he is translated into prose... I therefore consider prose translations more advantageous than poetical ones... Those critical translations that vie with the original seem really to be only for the private delectation of the learned.' Emerson too rendered Hafiz, about whom he stated, 'He fears nothing. He sees too far he sees throughout such is the only man I wish to see and be.' Emerson's translations were both free renderings and translations all made from German sources, for he did not read or speak Persian with any fluency. Contemporary poet/translator Kenneth Rexroth states, 'The writer who can project himself into the exultation of another learns more than the craft of words, he lear

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2002


    His words made me a positive person...Took all the negativity away from my heart..with him I found the connection and peace with my inner self...thanks for the individuals who made these books available ...It is a true treasure and doesn't cost much to own it...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2002

    Hafiz the Mystic Guide still rings true in the 20th century

    This is a book that as a student of the Sufi path I keep going back to again and again for inspiration and comfort. Hafiz never fails to surprise me. Deeply felt and sometimes acerbic, his words resonate still in the 21st century. This book is a blessing to anyone on any spiritual path or those who simply need a 'pick-me-up' now and then. Namaste

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2001

    Drunk with the words of Hafiz!

    This is the best gift I ever gave myself. Hafiz is the greatest love. I find myself melting away under my covers or perched on a park bench completely mesmerized. This Gift is one that doesn't just stick to words in a book. The words are leaping off the pages longing to be be sung. Hafiz brings the heart to life and gives it verse to dance to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2001


    Forget what you think you know about poetry. Hafiz has no peer. This collection is wonderfully translated by somebody who has obviously gotten fully into the spirit of the work. There is more light in these pages than in volumes of other works... It is a joy which will continue to give you pause to think and appreciate for the rest of your life. Perhaps the best book I have ever had the good fortune to read. Buy it! Buy it and be thankful that you FOUND it! No reservations whatsoever *****+

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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