Michael Shepherd

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Rudagi's Wine Song

I’m writing to you from that blessed place

where desert meets oasis, in Iran

and it’s the 10th century, now, today, just here:

and so I write of wine; and how

it speaks of God’s great grace and gift;

you may wish to translate the word as ‘beer’…

this Al’Cohol is given us to reveal

that, which we hide but really are:

who guessed you had such courage

and such strength when you, (with all divine respect)

so wisely measured, generously, your drink,

and drink revealed the measure, too, of you?

And you – who think yourself a slave to home and work

or lack of all the things you most desire,

now know yourself to have been born as free..

for freedom is the first thing men require..

and if I say the joy of drink

is like ‘the rose’s scent or jasmine bloom’ –

remember, I, Rudagi, was born blind..

a rose or jasmine flower lights my dark room..

The arrogant stiff upper lip; the cold, aloof thin man;

the wild of mind – yes, even they may yield;

the miserly; who finds his real self

and showers bounty on the world;

with my poured art, yes, even they may yield;

I, Rudagi, prince’s princely poet in Bokhara,

drink to you at ease in friendly pub,

in mutual praise at what God’s secret art

may show you of what lies within your heart..


Freely adapted from Rudagi’s poem, as his tribute.

Poem Submitted: Monday, October 26, 2009

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