I’m bound to shave my head and take
Qalandar fashion for my public dress.
My linens I will trade
for a smock of lambswool
or a coat of felt, or I will go naked
I’ll hit the beggars’ circuit
along with every baldhead type.
Innocent of wine, all they know
is herb and bhang, five grams of which
is like two thousand jars of wine
A grain of their stuff is like seventy cups
and they keep it in sackfuls.
But before I get stoned,
I must see to my meal, so
off to the market with my beggar’s bowl
The sheep’s head dealer will hear from me,
and the beangrocer, and the harisa vendor.
Dear sir, I’ll say
in Persian rhyme,
all dervishes are wand’ring gypsies
At dawn’s early light we pray for you,
we company of righteous souls!
We dervishes discern
the man of capital and say,
Master, for the mosque, please, a donation!
A pint of oil to light the lamps
among the seated congregants!
Naked as I am
I persuade like Satan
and by him I am persuaded mightily
The Devil whispers in my ear.
The Devil’s counsel fills my chest.
But don’t call me an invert
or a melon, and do not say
al-Maghribī’s posterity is ill-omened
In fact he left no issue
but a fierce young lion, all-trampling
and scorched by lust
after an urchin who rejects me
and is the hidden pearl of my delirium
For one like me, what is the harm in
burning for his strutting form?
Radiant as the moon
slim as a myrtle, and as green—
for him, my wayward passions are forgiven
A Croesus with that myrtle to kiss
would not miss the loss of his other riches!
So leave me to enjoy my life
with the group that gets my meaning.
There is nobody smarter than the one who sings:
Up with cups and down with chatter,
and never linger over things that people say.
Those things don’t matter