Monday, April 23, 2007

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

I finally got around to reading the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and the only thought I kept having was that this should be read in Persian and not English. Much brilliance would have been lost in the translation but still the words sway emotions at will. It reminded me of "Madhushala". The philosophy is so similar, so profound and yet so simple. Then another couplet made me think of Shakespeare (more specifically "As You Like It 2/7"). Simply one of the best works I've ever come across. "The Listeners -
Walter de la Mer" still remains my favorite, I don't know why!

I resolve daily that at dusk I shall repent
For a night with a cup full of wine spent.
In the presence of flowers, my resolve simply went
In such company, I only regret that I ever resolved to repent.

Khayam, if you are intoxicated with wine, enjoy!
If you are seated with a lover of thine, enjoy!
In the end, the Void the whole world employ
Imagine thou art not, while waiting in line, enjoy!

In childhood we strove to go to school,
Our turn to teach, joyous as a rule
The end of the story is sad and cruel
From dust we came, and gone with winds cool.

At dawn came a calling from the tavern
Hark drunken mad man of the cavern
Arise; let us fill with wine one more turn
Before destiny fills our cup, our urn.

Heaven is incomplete without a heavenly romance
Let a glass of wine be my present circumstance
Take what is here now, let go of a promised chance
A drumbeat is best heard from a distance.

Happily I walked with the tavern down the line
Passed an old drunk, holding a bottle of wine
"Do you not fear God?" was reproach of mine
said, "Mercy is God’s sign, in silence I wine and dine."

It is a day neither hot nor cold,
Clouds help the dry flowers unfold
Canary with his song to the flower told
Drink while you can, yourself don’t scold

Before time takes you by surprise
Ask for good red wine and get wise
You are not of gold, don’t believe the lies
You are put to dust, once again you’ll rise.

I brought the cup to my lips with greed
Begging for longevity, my temporal need
Cup brought its to mine, its secret did feed
Time never returns, drink, of this take heed

Some are thoughtful on their way
Some are doubtful, so they pray.
I hear the hidden voice that may
Shout, "Both paths lead astray."

At all times, merrily try
To drink wine and in song cry
Millions of kings in silence lie
From coming of January and passing of July.

Drinking wine is my travail
Till my body is dead and stale
At my grave site all shall hail
Odor of wine shall prevail.

Each drop of wine that is spilt
Burnt deep in my heart and sorrow built
I drink wine while prayer thou wilt
The water that quenched the fire of my guilt.

Tonight I shall embrace a gallon cup
With at least two cups of wine I‘ll sup
I’ll divorce my mind and religion stop
With daughter of vine, all night I’ll stay up.

We are the puppets and fate the puppeteer
This is not a metaphor, but a truth sincere
On this stage, fate for sometime our moves steer
Into the chest of non-existence, one by one disappear.


  1. it is probably one of the best works of poetry known to humanity...and yes it would obviously sound better in the original language...
    btw madhushala is heavily inspired by the rubaiyat...even the verse used is the same(its a persian form of verse which is called a rubai)

  2. Oh .. I have to read that..

    'I only regret that I ever resolved to repent.'
    I loved this one though ;)

  3. Yes now i came to know how to drink wine in a systamatic way.thanks..... visit my blog

  4. lovely.I will go home and read my favourite couplets all over again....and yes if I ever learn persian it would be for this reason alone :)

  5. good enough reason to learn any language!