Friday, March 8, 2013

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 6

A Hair perhaps divides the False and True; 
Yes; and a single Alif were the clue-- 
Could you but find it--to the Treasure-house, 
And peradventure to The Master too;

Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins 
Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains; 
Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; and 
They change and perish all--but He remains;

A moment guess'd--then back behind the Fold 
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll'd 
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity, 
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.

But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor 
Of Earth, and up to Heav'n's unopening Door 
You gaze To-day, while You are You--how then 
To-morrow, You when shall be You no more?

Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit 
Of This and That endeavour and dispute; 
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape 
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse 
I made a Second Marriage in my house; 
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed 
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

For "Is" and "Is-not" though with Rule and Line 
And "Up" and "Down" by Logic I define, 
Of all that one should care to fathom, 
Was never deep in anything but--Wine.

Ah, but my Computations, People say, 
Reduced the Year to better reckoning?--Nay 
'Twas only striking from the Calendar 
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday.

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape, 
Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape 
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and 
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas--the Grape!

The Grape that can with Logic absolute 
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute: 
The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice 
Life's leaden metal into Gold transmute:

The mighty Mahmud, Allah-breathing Lord 
That all the misbelieving and black Horde 
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul 
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.

Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare 
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare? 
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not? 
And if a Curse--why, then, Who set it there?

I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must, 
Scared by some After-reckoning ta'en on trust, 
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink, 
To fill the Cup--when crumbled into Dust!

Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise! 
One thing at least is certain--This Life flies; 
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies; 
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who 
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through, 
Not one returns to tell us of the Road, 
Which to discover we must travel too.

The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd 
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd, 
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep, 
They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd.

Omar Khayyam's Born: 18 May 1048 in Nishapur, Persia (now Iran)
Died: 4 Dec 1131 in Nishapur, Persia (now Iran)
His full name was Ghiyath al-Din Abu'l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami  means 'tent maker' played on the meaning of his own name when he wrote:-
Khayyam, who stitched the tents of science,
Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned,
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!
Omar Khayyam was an Islamic scholar who was a poet as well as a mathematician. He compiled astronomical tables and contributed to calendar reform and discovered a geometrical method of solving cubic equations by intersecting a parabola with a circle.

Syafuan Gani
Doha, Qatar

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