The Gift

The Gift


$18.00 $20.00 Save 10% Current price is $18, Original price is $20. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, July 23


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 poet—even Rumi—Hafiz 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 words—to make the Luminous Resonance of God tangible to our finite senses.

I am a hole in a flute that the Christ's breath moves through
listen to this music!

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140195811
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/1999
Series: Compass Series
Edition description: Gift
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 170,437
Product dimensions: 8.32(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.91(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz The Great Sufi Master 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dan is a friend. This his best book . My wild redneck friend even loved it.
urbanholly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you love Rumi, Hafiz will be paradise. Not only beautiful but humorous. The way Hafiz writes of God is with the love of a lover. After reading from the Gift, I want to feel for God the way Hafiz does. I want the ecstatic Sufi experience. Everyone should read this at least once an experience true love.
Elfpath on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hafiz, born as Shams-ud-din Muhammed around 1320 in Persia, is a most amazing poet who has a connection to the heart and to the divine so strong that anyone who listens cannot but feel the deep love and awareness in his words. His poems are sometimes short and sweet, sometimes slightly crazed, and other times seem to dance with delight and excitement. They touch something inside us that makes us say "Yes, this, I knew this!"WhatWouldHappen if God leaned downAnd gave you a full wetKiss?HafizDoesn't mind answering astronomical questions like that.
astral707 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is just something so simple and beautiful about this poetry. You really can open it at any time, to any page, and it will cheer you up. You do not have to have to be religious, have a background in history, or familiarity with poetry to love this book.
ltrain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whenever I pick up this book, I can open it to any page and feel like I can relate to a dead master...and everyone else. There is so much great humor and wisdom packed into the creative poetry of Hafiz. There is even a wonderful introduction providing a background for Hafiz' life, thus instilling in me an even deeper appreciation for his work.
bookwormbecky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book, I loved this. Clear, accessible, heartwarming, witty and wise. Great translation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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).
CompassionateGrace More than 1 year ago
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.
Neice More than 1 year ago
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.
Banes4Nobel More than 1 year ago
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. AWESOME
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GreenTerra More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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...
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 *****+