Stay Close to Those Sounds

The Open Door

excerpt from “Stay Close to Those Sounds”

The sun turns a key in a lock each day
As soon as it crawls out of bed.

Light swings open a door
And the many kinds of love rush out
Onto the infinite green field.

Stay close to any sounds

That make you glad you are alive.

– from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, translations by Daniel Ladinsky, Penguin Compass, 1999.

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these verses from the 14th-Century Sufi mystical poet, Hafiz. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. On Valentine’s Day, I met with a group of women at the Priory Spirituality Center in Lacey, Washington, and we wrote haiku and other linked verses together.

    The following two verses were written in response to verses from a very different love poem: Song of Solomon 3:1-5, “Love’s Dream.” I think they go remarkably well with Hafiz, too.

    Hidden in shadow
    elusive as wind
    my soul arises
    — Kathleen, Bremerton

    Whom does my soul love
    I sought but got no answer
    Spirit is my love

    answer me, my soul love
    embrace me; do not let go
    — Cheryl, Port Orchard

  2. This drawing and haiku came to me from Sharon Nowicki, who was part of my online Nature Journal class earlier thisspring. The sketch is from her nature journal.
    Alder Trees

  3. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Surf lapping
    soft on sandy shore
    child laughs

  4. Marybeth Bland says:

    Warm morning sun
    a respite after the rains
    time for joyful song

  5. joe proctor says:

    the cat’s ear
    flickers like a fan
    a distant sound

    fresh rain
    earthworms out
    holy ground

    • Hi Joe, I love the juxtapositions in both these poems. The first makes me feel as if the cat and I are having the same experience — we are each hearing the distant sound — and “flickers” makes my ears tingle! And it’s wonderful to put the earthworms coming out of the moist earth together with holy ground. A reminder of what makes holiness … and that I am always on holy ground. Thank you!

  6. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Opening the door
    I hear joyful birds
    Welcoming the day.

    • The other evening, we were sitting and talking around the table, and I faintly heard the sound of frogs croaking in the distance. I opened the back door, and was awash in the sound of hundreds of frogs croaking! There’s a low spot in my neighbor’s meadow that turns into a pond in the spring. The frogs must be particularly prolific this year, because their songs took over the night. Frogs at night and birds in the morning — Ah spring! Thanks, Janet, for this welcoming poem.

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      How true! I opened my patio door today and I head the sound of ducks flying by. I quickly went out to the deck to see two ducks flying over my house. How wonderful.

      Marybeth bland

      And Margaret we have frogs croaking in rge pond across the street starting in April.. My nephew says it is their mating call. They are so loud that when we sleep with all the windows closed we can faintly hear them . They are my first sign of spring. I wrote April when I hear them but actually it is Marxh when they start,

  7. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Whoo Whoo to and fro
    echoing in the wind
    barn owl serenade

    • I love the owls! We have horned owls near our house, and every once in a while one of them hoots through the evening. An amazing sound, loud & thrilling & wild. “Stay close to those sounds!” I go out on the porch to hear it better.
      I especially like your first two lines — I can hear the owls and the wind.

  8. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Just realized looking at this again that I spelled echoing wrong. Funny how a person doesn’t notice the little things until going back later.

  9. c. temte says:

    in the pale gray light
    the dove softly coos
    the waking hour

    • Nice combination of senses. Puts me in the moment.
      A comment on the use of articles in haiku. I like it that you use articles, creating natural-sounding language. This poem uses “the” three times. “The” is so short & common, in prose writing it’s nearly invisible. But in the compressed environment of a haiku, three of them start to call attention to themselves. I often find myself working with the articles, trying to mix them up a little.
      You could use “a” in the second line without hurting anything, at least to my ears.
      And I think you could cut the article in the third line. Then “waking hour” stands alone, evoking something broad & general about the moment. What do you think?

      in the pale gray light
      a dove softly coos
      waking hour

  10. Marybeth Bland says:

    ocean waves
    pounding against the shore
    we awake

  11. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Oh, I need to get myself down to the ocean. Favorite sound to awaken to.

  12. c.temte says:

    the thud of the screws
    drifts through the open window
    two ships passing

    • Boy, you are really into sound.
      In this poem I like especially “drifts through the open window” and “two ships passing.”
      I have to admit that I’m not familiar the sound of screws thudding … but somehow it doesn’t matter too much. I just assume it’s a sound ships make

      • c.temte says:

        Sorry about the sounds – I live near the water. My husband was a retired Naval officer and asst. steam ship co. manager. I just know the lingo and do listen for the sound of the propellers of ships. I hear the surf just as easily as birds.