I Fell Hard So Hard for Hafiz

I went to bed with a man so much older than me. I don’t even want to confess our age difference but I will because I have never felt so electric, sensual and on fire. The memory makes my bottom lip swell and my fingertips tingle.

You should know him too.

It was springtime and I was visiting Martha’s Vineyard and staying at a beautiful cottage where the bed had chocolates and a towel left out and waiting for me. I had been intended, invited and it was lovely to be such a welcomed guest.

He was not a dazzling looker and I missed him at first glance. It wasn’t instant attraction as much as curiosity. He sat at an angle crumpled and faded but still appealing.

I had to have a crack at that spine and let my fingers open him.

He didn’t say a word, not out loud, but quietly waited.

It didn’t even seem too forward for me to move in close, to grab, finger, graze and devour him as he sat between the covers on the bed to be mine.

I had the feeling that there had been lots of others. He knew how to simply be patient and that I’d eventually slow down, tune in and notice him.

I did.


of a great need

we are holding hands

and climbing

not loving is a letting go.


Photo by Margaret Bellafiore

Photo by Margaret Bellafiore

the terrain around here

is far too dangerous

for that.


That was the first kiss of ink he marked me with.

In just a few lines Hafiz had courted and commanded my attention and devotion.

I had not fallen so hard or instantly since age fourteen when my heart was held hostage by Cat Stevens. It was 1980 and I’d place him down on a turntable, move the needle and rest my head on a speaker as large as a laundry basket so I could hear and feel his words, music and lyrics.

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside, it’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.

How could some adult dude I never met know the hard, complicated and precise feelings of in development me? I didn’t get it but it was undeniable. I knew jack about him but still it felt intimate, personal and pulsating.

Decades later I felt the same again with Hafiz so I knew it would be lasting, deep and forever.

Not just anyone can make me feel soothed, nurtured and tended too.

Not everyone is disarming, charming and mysterious without being secretive or sneaky.

He made me feel real, seen and revealed – to myself. And I had to know more of him.

I could see evidence of other hands on the pages leaving soil marks, creases and folded spots, his words transformed me. He made no promises to be exclusive eitherLiterary

But he was necessary, urgent and like hunks of bread remembered and found before starvation makes one too weak to think or move.

I pulled him close to my chest, scribbled line after line, passage after passage into my journal. The desire to read more was fought only the urge to call every person I love and say, “You have to hear-fell-see and know this now!”

But I kept him to myself at first. His words were my discovery, the secret ingredients to something I had forgot was needing to cook in me and he was a balm for all my aches because he had lived so long there was nothing unfamiliar to him.

I love how poetry can climb behind cells, inhabit the underside of skin and rest in the space between eye lashes and eye balls.

The heart is right to cry

even when the smallest

drop of light,

of love

is taken away.

Perhaps you may kick,

moan, scream

in a dignified silence,

But you are so right

to do so in any fashion

until God returns


your life.

Poetry holds the place where resolution is not possible or maybe even necessary – ever.

It reminds me that all is well and can feel like hell at the same time.A single tree with beautiful space background

Day to day me rages against uncertainty and mystery and the timelessness of grief. But the lyrical part of my being that poetry wakes up from napping is comfortable with complexity.

I love Hafiz.

How often I’ve tried to go and stay, dive in to water without getting wet and keep my heart open and closed at the same time.

But I can’t jump from a plane with the parachute already open. Begging the bottom to be merciful, if I hit, is sometimes the only option while taking in the vast expanse a big risking leap allows.

That’s not even tragic – just life – and sometimes magic or at least the perfect place for transformation

When you can endure


the words stop

and you can endure

the silence

that reveals your heart’s


of emptiness

or that great wrenching,

sweet longing.

That is the time to try and


to what the Beloved’s


most want

to say.


The words of Hafiz found me, were a soft blanket on my shredded, raw heart and reminded me my soul still had embers glowing that could never be extinguished.

I’ve never met the Persian poet born in Iran in the 14th century yet we are intimate and connected in the highest form of sharing.

A guy and a girl in bed, naked, on opposite ends of the pen and page, divided by centuries, religions and continents but still able to come together.

That love of mine, Hafiz wrote:

I wish

I could show you

when you are lonely

or in darkness,

the astonishing light

of your own being.

My dearest Hafiz,

Can you feel my words travel back through the waves of time? If you can, please know, you got your wish. I got you – mere centuries later. Thank you for finding me after all this time. I know there are others too but I love you.

Slightly edited version in Elephant Journal .


See I Fell Hard for Daniel Ladinky as it relates to this piece and original correspondence from him following the Elephant Journal I Fell Hard for Hafiz piece at the bottom of this link.

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  1. Billy boone says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve ordered some of Hafiz books. Intrigued and enlightened, billy

    • Cissy White says:

      The poems shared I now know are from the translation of Daniel Ladinsky if they speak to you. However, they are renderings of the work of Hafiz meaning Ladinsky creates several poems from works translated into English by others. I didn’t know that when I wrote the piece or I would have titled it “I Fell Hard for Ladinsky.”
      Happy reading.

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