Poetry Wednesday

Poetry Wednesdays: Hafiz, “We Should Talk About This Problem”

We Should Talk about This Problem
Hafiz

There is a Beautiful Creature
Living in a hole you have dug.

So at night
I set fruit and grains
And little pots of wine and milk
Beside your soft earthen mounds,

And I often sing.

But still, my dear,
You do not come out.

I have fallen in love with Someone
Who hides inside you.

We should talk about this problem–

Otherwise,
I will never leave you alone.

 

A funny anecdote — whenever I discuss this in any of my classes, there’s always one, or two, or ten, who say that the persona is talking to his beloved, who is pregnant, and the “Beautiful Creature” is the baby.

So I ask them some probing questions: “What is this ‘hole you have dug’?” (The boys would guffaw.) When the persona says, “But still, my dear, / You do not come out,” does it mean that he suddenly addressed someone else (i.e. the supposed baby)? And what would the persona expect when he “set fruit and grains”?

Despite the awkward discussions, I still choose this as one of my introductory poems for discussion, especially as I want to center on the idea of metaphors. This is an extended metaphor — the “Beautiful Creature” of course is another facet of the addressee, perhaps a personality trait or the proverbial “true colors” that she tries to hide and the persona wants to tease out. Metaphor is a sort of cognitive jump, you see. It’s when things cease being what we sense they are and turn into something we could connect them with that we become more fully aware of our world.

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