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Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat

Alex has been a photographer since he was in grade school. He thoroughly enjoys various arts, and he participates in some of them at times.

The written poetry of Omar Khayyam is often considered one of the greatest literary triumphs of Sufism to date. More questions arise when reading his Rubaiyat, than answers can be given. The best odes and ballads do that. Too many questions simply cannot be answered immediately anyway. And, Edward Fitzgerald's translation of some of the heavenly verses of the man is a fantastic depiction of the worlds which were inside the Persian's head. And, what amazing worlds upon worlds inside of worlds there are are over there!

Have you read it?

Omar Khayyam is easily one of my favorite poets. I love the semantic beauty of Gibran, the painted art of Blake, the heart of Kabir, the wisdom of Rumi and Solomon, and the devotion of Nanak. But, there's simply something which is so very unique about Khayyam. He was a man who risked a substantial quantity. He was a person of integrity. And, still - he continued on his Islamic travels, regardless of any thoughts of unworthiness by his peers. His quatrains are problematic for the translator, the verses and lines of poetry often are. And yet, his poems are so cherished that scholars continue trying to interpret them for the English reader.

In one of the variations of the translated works that I've read, drawings like these are included to help engage the reader with the poetry overall.

In one of the variations of the translated works that I've read, drawings like these are included to help engage the reader with the poetry overall.

'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' Quatrain IX as translated by Edward Fitzgerald:

"

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say:
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

"

- 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' forth quatrain, fifth edition

The mention of alcohol in Omar's most famous of collected works is indeed an item of great (and perhaps grave) meditation. It is generally against Islamic law to engage in the drinking of any fermented beverage. One should consider the possibility that the wine mentioned throughout is symbolic, and that is not the reference to literal aged grapes. The application of such things as hyperbole, metaphor, and parable are almost always lost in the manic tortured brains of the extremists. Wine is, at times, used as a symbolic representation of a kind of elixir for the mind. The last sentence was very redundant, so let me specify; something that aids in a certain form of change in an individual's consciousness can be poetically called a "wine".

The First And Fifth Editions May Be Read For Free Here:

However, we still can consider the "chance" that Omar Khayyam meant what he wrote somewhat literally. He was a Persian after all, and his people have a history of drinking (most cultures seem to, with the obvious exception of the northern portion of the Americas). We also know that his father was once counted amidst those Mazdyasnians. Still, I clearly have my doubts to this latter interpretation. And, even if he did mean literal alcohol; this is not how we need to translate his thoughts. Context is important, but the fluidity of poetic understanding is one of the beauties of the art. A singular meaning is not necessary for the observer of art. Even the artist herself may not possess merely one way to express their best works in simply and flattened terms. This is, in part what separates art from other manifestations of animal expression. If something is in complete lack of nuance, then can that something still be thought of as art? Maybe it can for some, but I am not sure that such people would be at all correct here in this area.

Various editions of the translated classic are available for purchase at places like 'Barns & Noble', 'Amazon', and garage sales throughout the United States.

'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' is one of my favorite books in the entire world. This is no exaggeration. I have read it multiple times, I plan to read it many more, and I encourage anyone who is interested in doing so - to perform likewise. It is brilliant and a bit edgy - and, I enjoy each translated verse as candy for the mind.

Here is some magnificence above Omar Khayyam's grave.

Here is some magnificence above Omar Khayyam's grave.

What is your position on this historic piece of literature? Go ahead and leave any and all thoughts in the comment region. However, I hope that you admire and care for this publication as much as I do.

© 2019 Alexander James Guckenberger

Comments

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 07, 2019:

You are a friend. Thanks

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on May 07, 2019:

Eric, I completely agree. People sometimes confuse culture and religion.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 07, 2019:

My home is half Vietnamese, our things like neti pots are more ancestral and along with essences and incense sit at our ancestor altar. Yes we are christian these things are tradition not religion.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on May 06, 2019:

Oncology? I just prayed for you buddy. Yoga? Do you use a neti pot? I have one one a shelf in my room. Well, maybe not a single ticket - but, surrounding yourself with people who care should help a little.

Thank you. I love your comments. Stay strong.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 06, 2019:

Oncology used to require taking it easy. Now they know we should get after it. We look so funny doing Yoga. I do not have a ticket for the next train to easy.

I love your writing thank you for enrichment.

Alexander James Guckenberger (author) from Maryland, United States of America on May 06, 2019:

You're not old. I like to tell stories of my fondest memories too, and I enjoyed yours. Take care and try to take it easy brother.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 06, 2019:

Oh wow what memories. I think Armenians were held in contempt through about 1970. Like as bad as blacks in the South. My dad made a friend of one -- the story goes about an appendix burst and surgery at home because a hospital would not let Armenians in. George Magar Mardikian. He let all eight of us in his restaurant "Omar Khayyams" of Hill Street in San Fran. A lady sat and read parts of his work as we savored rose petal jam. My mom declared Khayyam a great poet. So we read him growing up.

Sorry, the ramblings of an old man. Something like "give me a bottle of wine, some poetry to read a bit of bread and some free time" thanks friend.

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