Leading up to my 40th birthday I was looking for a tattoo that would remind me how precious it all is – life, that is. In the past year, I had healed a 42 year old wound in my family lineage and had also helped a 42 year old friend pass over. “All you need is love” kept ringing through my head. I have an amazing blessed life and was thinking of putting a visual reminder right on my wrist where I could easily look at it. People often advise against about visible tattoos, but that’s another piece of what I wanted to celebrate. Not only have I built a life where tattoos, piercings, and funky hair colors have not impeded me professionally, but society has also come a long way on its acceptance of such things. I am no longer scared to put a tattoo on my wrist, but it had better be something I’m okay with looking at all the time. I wanted it to be something which would remind me what I gleaned out of the first 40 years of my life and what I wanted to carry forward into the rest of my life.
Nothing right was coming to mind and I resigned myself to knowing it would not happen on or during the lead up to the big day. Then a funny thing happened. I was invited to MC a poetry share that I’ve been involved with for years and deeply love. It was a huge honor. This year it happened to fall right on my 40th birthday. I even finally convinced Joss, the woman who conceived of and ran the gathering, to come and read a poem she had mentioned she wanted to bring before. As her partner Steve had taught us all so well, I pressed her to “bring it.”
The poetry was a delight as always. The poets in this community always bring exquisite offerings and it was such a sweet way to usher in 40, surrounded by love, laughter, and poetry. When Joss’ turn came, she read a poem from Hafiz which knocked everyone’s socks off.
I THINK WE NEED A PASSWORD
I think we need a password, or let’s make that a pass-sentence.
That way, in case you ever come to my door in an emergency and God and I are busy inside,
we could then just shout, Tell us the password! if you really want to snuggle.
And part of the password will be you knowing it is really… a pass-sentence. And here it is in all its glory and truth:
Love kicks the ass of time and space.
Upon hearing that God and I would look at each bewildered, but with delight. We would be glad someone had reached us… with the golden key of their tongue.
Though just to make sure we heard you right we might say in unison, Sing it loudly, baby! Cut loose! We need to double check!
And then if you did, a strength and smile might rise inside of you, and right next to my heart you might be for a moment… beaming like an eye that knows.
Don’t forget now: LKTAOTAS
Maybe even tattoo that somewhere so you will remember.
While I don’t do what every poem tells me to do, I was struck by the the way the phrase – Love kicks the ass of time and space – so elegantly and accurately summed up what I had been wanting to convey with this tattoo. Clearly Hafiz, a revered Persian mystic and poet from the 14th-century, didn’t write this line as we are reading it today. What Daniel Lidinsky seems to have done though is to capture the spirit and essence of Hafiz’s work in a way which is both lively, joyful, and accessible. Hafiz is known to employ both irony and humor in his work and Daniel Lidinky’s interpretations reflect that.
I’ve had the tattoo for a couple of months now and I must say I love it more and more each day. Many thanks to Charon Henning, the tattoo artist who both drew the final design and brought it into life on my skin.