Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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The Cup of Haydar
An Old Man Carries A Bowl, Persian, 1610-15. Click for larger image.

Give up wine and drink from the wine of Haydar
Amber scented, green the colour of emerald.
It is presented to you by a Turkish gazelle, slender,
Swaying like a willow bough, delicate.
In his hand, you would think, as he turns it,
It is like the traces of down on a rosy cheek.
The slightest breeze makes it reel,
And it flutters towards the coolness of the continuing breeze.
The grayish pigeons coo upon its branches in the morning,
And the cadences of the warbling doves cause it emotion.
It has many meanings the like of which are unknown to wine.

There do not listen with respect to the words of the old censor.
It is virginal, not deflowered by rain,
Nor has it ever been squeezed by feet or hands.
No Christian priest has ever played with a cup containing it,
Nor have they ever given communion from its cask to any heretic soul.
Nothing has ever been said expressly from Malik to declare it unlawful,
Nor is any penalty for its use found prescribed.
Thus take it with sharp edge of steel.
Stay the hands of worry with kaff and achieve joyful repose.
Do not lightly postpone the day of joy till tomorrow.
The days will show you what you were ignorant of,
And someone your did not intent to serve as your messenger will bring you the news.