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Two Bears – A Poem By The Poet Hafiz

Poet Hafiz
Here is a sweet little poem that we recently came across that is called “Two Bears”. It was supposedly written in the mid-1300s by the Persian poet Hafiz. According to Wikipedia Hafiz was a Persian poet who “lauded the joys of love and wine but also targeted religious hypocrisy.” His collected works are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are to be found in the homes of most people in Iran and Afghanistan, who learn his poems by heart and still use them as proverbs and sayings.

The Two Bears

Once
After a hard day forage
Two bears sat together in silence
On a beautiful vista
Watching the sun go down
And feeling deeply grateful
For life.

Though, after a while
A thought-provoking conversation began
Which turned to the topic of
Fame.

The one bear said,
“Did you hear about Rustam?
He has become famous
And travels from city to city
In a golden cage;

He performs for hundreds of people
Who laugh and applaud
His carnival
Stunts.

The other bear thought for
A few seconds

Then started
Weeping.

We like this poem because, in addition to it’s reflection on people’s infatuation with fame and the famous, it sadly reminds us of those terrible animal circus acts where animals are forced in to “performing” out of fear. We remember as children gleefully watching seals balance balls, elephants standing precariously on small risers, horses galloping around, usually all to the tune of a cracking whip. Then there were the bears, the dancing bears. The dancing bears who’s eyes reflected either embarrassment, knowing that you knew that they knew, or like Mac’s return to the ward, reflecting nothing at all. Like our parents before us we took our children to this great tradition, this rite of passage once. For as an adult we saw what it really was. So sad.

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