Three Love Poems by Rumi, Translated by Haleh Liza Gafori

15 March, 2022
“My Forgiven Game Of Love,” mixed media on canvas, 180 x 200 cm (2019) and “To Conquer Love,” mixed media on canvas, 200 x 200 cm (2019) by Roshanak Aminelahi (courtesy of the artist).


Three poems excerpted from the collection, GOLD, featuring new translations of poems by Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī or simply, Rumi, the 13th century sage and mystic.

GOLD is available from PenguinRandomHouse, published by NYRB Books.



You Found Me

You found me once again,
you thief of hearts. In drunken ecstasy,
you searched the bazaar and found me.

Even through sleepy-lidded, Love-drunk eyes,
you spotted me. I ran to the tavern.
You found me.

Why do I run when no one can escape you?
Why hide when you’ve found me a hundred times?

I thought I could lose you in a crowd of people.
But you find me even in crowds of secrets,
even behind my own masks.

What a blessing to be sought and found by your eyes.
What luck to be caught in your twists and turns—

loving seer, persistent seer,
towering cypress of countless gardens,

I was pulling a thorn from my foot
when you found me.

You showered me with flowers
from your fertile beds.

Dear nightingale,
your melodies opened my ears.

Like a ladle wanting its fill of light,
I plunged into the moon’s halo.

At the bottom of that bottomless pot, you found me.

Like a deer fleeing a lion, I ran through the desert.
Deep in the mountains, you found me.

Wounded, I shed my blood on every path.
You followed the drops and found me.

I was a hooked fish writhing in the waves.
At the end of the line, you found me.

You roam the skies and catch galloping deer.

With all that skill and patience,
you found me.

The moment you found me,
you gave me a cup brimming with Love’s wine,
heavy enough to match the weight on my soul.

Every sip lightened it.
Every sip, a balm.
I drank till empty.
My soul took flight.

I have no mind, no ear, no tongue today.
The source of thought and word found me.



Let’s Love Each Other

Let’s love each other,
let’s cherish each other, my friend,
before we lose each other.

You’ll long for me when I’m gone.
You’ll make a truce with me.
So why put me on trial while I’m alive?

Why adore the dead but battle the living?

You’ll kiss the headstone of my grave.
Look, I’m lying here still as a corpse,
dead as a stone. Kiss my face instead!



The Moment You Left Me

The moment you left me,
sweetness was stolen from my tongue.
I turned to wax, burned like a candle
all night, scorched by fire, 
no honey.

No way to reach you,
no way to touch your beauty.

My body lies here in ruins.
My soul, a night owl.


Haleh Liza Gafori is a translator, vocalist, poet, and educator born in New York City of Iranian descent. She grew up hearing recitations of Persian poetry and has maintained and deepened her connection through singing and translating the poetry of various Persian poets for well over a decade. Gafori received her BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and her MFA in creative writing from CCNY where she completed a thesis of original poems as well as translations of the Persian poets such as Sohrap Sepehri and Omran Salahi, for which she received an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Goodman Grant for Poetry. For the poetry journal Rattapallax, Gafori served as a guest editor for a section on New Persian Poetry. Gafori’s own poems have been published by Columbia University Press and Rattapallax.

ecstatic poetryIranlovePersian poetryRumi


  1. Simplemente me encanta leer los mensajes de Rumi, me transportan cuando mientras leo sus poemas a la ves escucho la música romántica de Don Williams. Mi corazón se siente suave dulce y experimentó un sentimiento de paz, de amor en armonía con el ambiente cálido y fresco que me da el silencio de la montaña, todo es armonía.

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