Leaving Slavery

January 8, 2012

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One of my favorite poets is Hafiz, a Sufi Master who lived 1320-1389. His work is inspiring, heart-opening, heart-rending and delightful. There is a wonderful collection entitled The Gift, which contains many poems I dearly love.

One of my favorites is the one I’m sharing with you today. When I first read it, I wept and wept and wept. I have wept while reading it many times as I feel myself in the slave’s experience. Let me know what you feel.

Bring the man to me

A Perfect One was traveling through the desert.
He was stretched out around the fire one night
And said to one of his close ones,

“There is a slave loose not far from us.
He escaped today from a cruel master.
His hands are still bound behind his back,
His feet are also shackled.

I can see him right now praying for God’s help.
Go to him.
Ride to that distant hill;
And about a hundred feet up and to the right
You will find a small cave.
He is there.

Do not say a single word to him.
Bring the man to me.
God requests that I personally untie his body
And press my lips to his wounds.”

The disciple mounts his horse and within two hours
Arrives at the small mountain cave.

The slave sees him coming, the slave looks frightened.
The disciple, on orders not to speak,
Gestures toward the sky, pantomining:

God saw you in prayer,
Please come with me,
A great Teacher has used his heart’s divine eye
To know your whereabouts.

The slave cannot believe this story,
And begins to shout at the man and tries to run

But trips from his bindings.
The disciple becomes forced to subdue him.

Think of this picture as they now travel:

The million candles in the sky are lit and singing.
Every particle of existence is a dancing altar
That some mysterious force worships.

The earth is a church floor whereupon
In the middle of a glorious night
Walks a slave, weeping, tied to a rope behind a horse,
With a speechless rider
Taking him toward the unknown.

Several times with all of his might the slave
Tries to break free,
Feeling he is being returned to captivity.
The rider stops, dismounts – and brings his eyes
Near the prisoner’s eyes.
A deep kindness there communicates an unbelievable hope.
The rider motions – soon, soon you will be free.
Tears roll down from the rider’s cheeks
In happiness for this man.

Anger, all this fighting and tormenting want,

Sweetheart,
God has seen you and sent a close one.

Sweetheart,
God has seen your heart in prayer
And sent me.

 

Leave a Reply

7 Responses to “Leaving Slavery”

  1. Aafke says:

    Dear Jennifer,
    Yesterday I sent about 10 ‘likeminded’ wonderful humans this poem from Hafiz, it also can make me cry. Love Always, Aafke (The Netherlands)

    ‘Saints Bowing in the Mountains’

    Do you know how beautiful you are?

    I think not, my dear.

    For as you talk of God,
    I see great parades with wildly colorful bands
    Streaming from your mind and heart,
    Carrying wonderful and secret messages
    To every corner of this world.

    I see saints bowing in the mountains
    Hundreds of miles away
    To the wonder of sounds
    That break into light
    From your most common words.

    Speak to me of your mother,
    Your cousins and your friends.

    Tell me of squirrels and birds you know.
    Awaken your legion of nightingales—
    Let them soar wild and free in the sky.

    And begin to sing to God.
    Let’s all begin to sing to God!

    Do you know how beautiful you are?

    I think not, my dear,

    Yet Hafiz
    Could set you upon a Stage
    And worship you forever!

    -Hafiz-

  2. Teresa says:

    Jennifer,

    I too wept at reading this poem. It is beautiful. Tears come to me often now when I meditate and feel Gods presence within me…or when I read something divine and know the truth of it. This is one of those divine moments…thank you for being someone who articulates so many feelings and experiences we share that gives me a sense of validation that “I am Okay.”

    In Divine Love
    Teresa

  3. Susan Lewis says:

    This poem opened my heart. Along with the welcome release of tears, it revealed to me how Love actually sees me. I am Beloved! This is actually 100% true! All is forgiven and always has been. Ah, what a relief to remember this today. Thank you for this gift, Jennifer.
    I Love you,
    Susan

  4. johnelle phelps says:

    We are all the slave.
    We are all the rider.
    Some of us hear and act, and follow the message given.
    We all are as beautiful as the next, but only some of us choose to get on our horses and ride, while others struggle and fear our own rescuer.
    We can ALL save the slave, if we only listen to Gods voice.
    Some days we are the rescuer, some days we are the slave. Both are needed to save the other. Both as valuable as the other. The slave and the rider.
    We all can hear.
    We can all see.
    WE all are beautiful.
    Just Listen and get on the horse.
    xo

  5. Linda Connelly says:

    This is a very powerful poem with which we can all identify. The fear of the unknown and finally the hope which the slave experiences are familiar to us as well. Thank you for sharing such a poignant poem showing us we can trust there is a way out.

  6. Charlotte Gonzales says:

    Such a beautiful poem, it made me cry as well. We just cannot understand how much God loves us.

  7. Yvette says:

    This poem is yet another example of your great gift-giving, oh beautiful one. I will cherish it.

    The posts also fill me with joy, hope and solidarity. We are one and we are loved.

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