What a great interview about an amazing writer – ‘Something Missing In My Heart – Daniel Ladinsky On The God-Intoxicated Poetry Of Hafiz by ANDREW LAWLER’;
Here is one of my favourite extracts;
Before our first chat, at a coffee shop following his Mardi Gras reading, he apologized to three teenagers for inadvertently cutting in line. Though they protested that he hadn’t, he pressed a few dollars into their hands and later inscribed two of his books to them as gifts, chatting affably, asking their birthdays, and reading each one the appropriate poem from A Year with Hafiz.
Lawler: Do you always engage the world like that?
Ladinsky: Rumi and Hafiz can have a great effect on the young. They can safeguard them and point them in the right direction. They are like that Emmylou Harris song: “I would swim the sea for to ease your pain.” They are pain eaters. I see fine poems, whether by Rumi or Hafiz or Mary Oliver or [Rainer Maria] Rilke or Walt Whitman, as baby salvations.
I think so many people in the West are fragmented, and if I hadn’t been so fragmented when I was young, I would have felt the miracle of all this beauty that we are immersed in. The average person suffers all day long, and it is a rare moment when I’m not doing battle. If I have thirty minutes of peace in a day, that’s a lot. And even then it comes in snatches of five minutes here and five minutes there. All creatures are doing everything they can to have a sense of well-being. Rumi and Hafiz can help you in those battles.
Lawler: What do you mean by “battles”?
Ladinsky: Rumi says:
Great lions can find peace in a cage.
But we should only do that as a last resort.
So those bars I see that restrain your wings,
I guess you won’t mind if I pry them open.
Every single poem by Rumi and Hafiz offers people more freedom. What is freedom? It is not suffering from the tyranny of the past or the future, from the anxiety about tomorrow or the unresolved things of yesterday. It is seeing something of the wonder of this moment. It is not a dull experience. The freer one becomes, the more magical the world. And if there is any sanity in us, all we care about is love. We want to be in love, because that is the greatest freedom in this mad, mad, mad world.