Published June 16, 2009 · Estimated reading time: 2 minutes · Filed under , , ,

یوسف گم گشته (حافظ)
يوسف گم گشته باز آيد به كنعان غم مخور
این دل غمديده حالش به شود دل بد مکُن۱
گر بهار عُمر باشد باز بر تخت چمن
دور گردون گر دو روزی بر مُراد ما نرفت
هان مشو نوميد چون واقف نه ای از سر غيب
ای دل ار سيل فنا بُنیاد هستي بر کَند
در بيابان گر به شوق كعبه خواهي زد قدم
گر چه منزل بس خطرناک است و مقصد بس بعيد
حال ما در فرقت جانان و ابرام رقيب
حافظا در کُنج فقر و خلوت شبهای تار
کلبهٔ احزان شود روزی گلستان غم مخور
وين سر شوريده باز آيد به سامان غم مخور
چتر گُل بر سركشي ای مُرغ خوشخوان غم مخور۲
دائماً يكسان نباشد حال دوران غم مخور
باشد اندر پرده بازيهای پنهان غم مخور
چون ترا نوح است كشتي‏بان ز طوفان غم مخور
سر زنشها گر کُند خار مغيلان غم مخور‏
هيچ راهي نيست كانرا نيست پايان غم مخور
جمله ميداند خدای حال گردان غم مخور
تابود وردت دُعا و درس قرآن غم مخور

Lost Jospeh (Hafez)

Your lost Joseph will return to Canaan, do not grieve
This house of sorrows will become a garden, do not grieve

Oh grieving heart, you will mend do not despair
This frenzied mind will return to calm, do not grieve

When the spring of life sets again in the meadows
A crown of flowers you will bear, singing bird, do not grieve

If these turning epochs do not move with our will today
The state of time is not constant, do not grieve3

Lose hope not, for awareness cannot perceive the concealed
Behind the curtains hidden scenes play, do not grieve

Oh heart, should a flood of destruction engulf the world
If Noah is at your helm, do not grieve

As you step through the desert in desire of Ka’aba
The thorns may reproach you, do not grieve

Home may be perilous and destination out of reach
But there are no paths without an end, do not grieve

Our state in separation from friends and with demands of foes
The divine who turns circumstance knows all, do not grieve

Hafez, in the corner of poverty and loneliness of dark nights
Until your words echo prayers and lessons of Quran, do not grieve.

Translated by Marzieh Ghiasi
June 2009


*References used: Ganjoor collection of poetry & Dehkhoda’s Loghatnameh.
*Photo Source: AP Photo/Ben Curtis

*Note: I tried to make this translation verbatim and minimize interpretation, however Hafez poems are very challenging to ‘translate’ because (a) a large part of the meaning of his poems are carried implicitly in the rhyme and structure of the couplets (b) many of the words Hafez uses have a multitude of meanings for which there is no single English equivalent, so any translation is much more simplistic than the original poem.
[1] Alternatively “ای دل غمديده حالت به شود دل بد مكن” depending on the Divan.
[2] Alternatively “چتر گُل در سركشي” depending on the Divan.
[3] Translation modified from “The spheres of time are not constant, do not grieve” to “The state of time is not constant, do not grieve” in March 2012.

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26 responses so far

  1. wow, this is one of the most beautiful piece of writing and one of the most accurate translation of Hafez’s ghazals.You are such a talented writer!
    Thank you for sharing your writings with us:)

    Reply

  2. That was nice…

    Reply

  3. […] I’ve written earlier about the challenge of translating old Persian poems where the meaning is carried in the form of […]

  4. This is incredible. Thank you so much for your fantastic translation.

    Reply

  5. This is my favourite piece of poetry, every time I read it; it charges me with hope and optimism. Well translated.

    Reply

  6. As I read the poet. It looks wonderful and full of meanings.

    Reply

  7. thanks for sharing this nice poem.

    Reply

  8. WOw, great translation. Th 8) ere are so many other worthless translations of this poem/saying. Thanks!
    Dan

    Reply

  9. My fiance’s father open the book of Hafez poems to this poem and read it to me. It brought tears to my eyes and gave me hope. Before and since the reading I have struggled but I affirm to myself “do not grieve.” Thank you for your beautiful translation.

    Reply

  10. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  11. actually the original final verse does not include Quran, but ends with “darse valed gham makhor”

    Reply

    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    @1/2is, May I ask what reference you are using? I have three copies of Divan-e-Hafez in Persian published throughout the 20th century, in addition to online editions, all of which concur with the text I used as reference in my translation. Also just looking up the first edition English translation of the poem (published in 1891) by Henry Wilberforce Clarke, it also reads:
    “In the corner of poverty and the solitude of dark nights
    So long as thine are the practice of praying and the reading of the Kuran (wherein is the salvation of the next world) suffer not grief”

    Reply

  12. Nilofar Durrani

    Beautiful! Thank you!

    Reply

  13. I love this..

    Reply

  14. سلام مرضیه خانم.

    این شعر رو خودتون ترجمه کردید؟

    ممنون میشم از جواب.

    نیکو

    Reply

    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    @Nikoo,

    !سلام

    (: بله … این یکی از چند تا شعر هاییست که از فارسی به انگلیسی ترجمه کردم

    (http://ghiasi.org/writing/ لیست شعرها)

    Reply

  15. دكتر وزين

    سلام خانم مرضيه غياثى
    يك جهان سپاس ازين ترجمه بسيار عالى
    هزار آفرين بر استعداد و قلم رسا و طبع والاى شما
    اميد است ازترجمه تاى شما بيشتر بخوانيم
    وزين
    كابل – افغانستان

    Reply

    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    !دكتر وزين , سلام! خیلی ممنونم، و بسیار خوشحال که شما این ترجمه را دوست داشتید @

    Reply

  16. Habib Khursandi

    Thank You Ms Ghiasi-one of the best translation of this ,my favourite poem of Hafez, Well done and keep up the good work, Habib

    Reply

    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    @Habib Khursandi, Thank you so much for your kind comment!

    Reply

  17. I received this very interesting note from an anonymous friend:

    “Thank you posting the poem and the translation; I had to send it to a friend and it really helped. However, I noticed an error on the 3rd “beit” the word “Baz” means “Falcon” not “open” in this context. It is saying to the little bird that if there is a falcon flying overhead don’t worry since you can hide under a flower. Thanks again and good luck.”

    It’s a very interesting translation/interpretation of the line! the word “baz” certainly has at least three uses in farsi, including “again”, “open”/”unstuck”/”free”, and “hawk”/”falcon”. I consulted a few other people and the consensus was that the word is referring to spring undertaking an action, and therefore it must be ‘again’ (echoing the ‘return’ mentioned in first verse). The connotation of the phrase also appears to be positive, although to be fair, that is inconsistent with the rest of the following verses in which the first line is almost always calamitous.

    However, it if we say that the “spring of life” is “a falcon”, then a re-interpretation of the verse could work… in an entirely new way worth thinking about.

    Reply

  18. بسیار زیبا خیلی سپاسگزارم ازشما.اگه امکان هست ووقت گهربارتون رو نمیگیره لطفا برام ایمیل کنید
    جهانی سپاس

    Reply

  19. Such flawless translation, captures a timeless human condition in an idiom so refreshing and contemporary. It would be wonderful if you could extend your healing gift for translating Hafez to his other poems too!

    Reply

    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    @Suroosh Irfani, Thank you so much for your kind words Mr. Irfani! Probing into the heart of timeless poems like this and the process of translating is healing in itself. I certainly hope I’ll be able to do more in the future.

    Reply

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  21. https://soundcloud.com/mehdi-limoochi/yusefe-gomgashteh

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