Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Omar Khayyam


A thousand-year-old poem.
References I couldn't really comprehend.
A translation
That may or may not
Have reflected
The views of the poet, entirely.
And yet it spoke to me.
Steeped, as I was, in biblical references,
Through my family's intense involvement,
In Christianity,
It was like a gale
Sweeping through my life.
As it has swept through the lives
Of so many others.
It was
 The Rubaiyat
of Omar Khayyam.
Speak of poets...
Quote him.
Speak of philosophy....
Refer to his teachings.
Consider astronomy....
He mapped the stars.
Talk of algebra.....
He dissected the topic!
What a man!
And his message?
To live life to the full,
Without any inducements;
To embrace the present
And accept oblivion.
Now I learn that he is barely known in Iran,
Which once was his Persia!
What would he make of that?
My copy of the Rubaiyat
Is thumbed and faded now.
In a good cause.

My sixty-year-old copy.

How Belief spreads here:


Roger Owen Green said...

a good choice; haven't done the reading yet, but I will. someday.

Tumblewords: said...

Excellent. I have read parts and pieces of Omar Khayyam's writings but have never attempted to dissect it. It is hard to believe that he isn't known in Iran but the newest generations don't study much history or geography.

Gel said...

Very informative and obviously meaningful to you. That old copy speaks to my love of books. Thanks for this special O sharing.

Jay said...

How interesting that he is barely known now, in his own country!

He is obviously a favourite of yours!

Stan Ski said...

I've got a lot of reading to catch up on.

robkistner said...

Enjoyed this considerably Rinkly – thank you for sharing…
Image & Verse

Lilibeth said...

He does have a way with language. Real poetry is still beautiful when translated, and I always felt the magic of his words whenever I read them.

Here's an interesting note: I have heard several people who were raised steeped in other ancient worldviews, that Christianity was, for them, a breath of fresh wind.

Alone on the Isle said...

I feel like I have missed out on something great by never having read anything by him, I will now.

Old Egg said...

I loved the Ruba'iyat as a teenager and was bitterly disappointed to find that Fitzgerald had made a pigs breakfast of the translation, beautiful and moving though it was.

I have also got a a Penguin Ruba'iyat translated by Avery and Stubbs. In verse 155 it states" When the drunken nightingale found his way into the garden he discovered the face of the rose and the wine cup laughing; He came to whisper in my ear excitedly, "Seek out these, life once gone cannot be sought again."

Eat you heart your out Fitzgerald!

Excellent and stimulating post.

floreta said...

this seems like one of those good, rare books!

Dee Martin said...

another one I have not read. added to my list!