Sunday, 1 May 2011

All the chains came off.

Happy May Day!

I have become a doctor since i last wrote, last thursday in fact. After a lively viva, six years and fourteen days of work was rather wonderfully confirmed and my PhD was set free, a galloping horse over hills of fiery words. I feel happy.

Don't expect a note of my odd thinking to change or get trimmed at all. Free at last.

Coming up: this tuesday i am chairing a lecture by the wonderful Dr. Leonard Lewishon, one of the world's leading scholars on Sufism on Hafez, Tagore and the Persian world. 2.30-3.30, Barn Theatre, Dartington Estate, Devon, UK. That evening i am part of a bash in the estates Great Hall on Rumi - i'll be telling fairy stories, rude Nasrudin jokes and a few handpicked Rumi poems direct from Coleman. Chloe Goodchild and Duncan McIntosh will also be adding lots to the mix.

More soon. Today is gardening: dark soil in hand, weeding, planting and enjoying the first hint of sweet rain in a long while.

Regards all,

Dr. Shaw x


The garden is breathing out the air of Paradise today;
I sense this friend of heavenly
Nature, and myself, and the genius of the wine.

It's all right if the beggar claims to be a King
Today. His tent is a shadow thrown by a cloud;
The sown field is his room for receiving guests.

The meadow is composing a story of a spring day
In May; the person who knows lets the future
And its profits go and accepts the cash now.

Please don't imagine that your enemy will
Be faithful to you. The candle that stays lit
In the hermit's hut flickers out in the worldly church.

Make your soul strong then by letting it drink
The secret wine. You know that once we're dead,
This rotten world will press our dust into bricks.

My life is a black book. But don't rebuke
Me too much. No one can ever read
The words written on his own forehead.

When Hafez's coffin comes by, it'll be all right
To follow behind. Although he is
A captive of sin, he is on his way to the Garden.

— The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door
translated by Robert Bly & Leonard Lewisohn
HarperCollins, New York, 2008, pp. 31-32
Also: The Winged Energy of Delight, p. 397

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