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You know, my Friends, how Long since in my House -- Omar Khayyam

Guest poem submitted by M. Shamanth :
(Poem #1640) You know, my Friends, how Long since in my House
 You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
 For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
 Divorc'd 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" without I could define,
 I yet in all I only cared to know,
 Was never deep in anything but--Wine.

 And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
 Came stealing 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 subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
 Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute:

 The mighty Mahmúd, the victorious Lord,
 That all the misbelieving and black Horde
 Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
 Scatters and slays with his enchanted Sword.

 But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
 The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
 And, in some corner of the Hubbub coucht,
 Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

 For in and out, above, about, below,
 'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
 Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
 Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.

 And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
 End in the Nothing all Things end in--Yes--
 Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
 Thou shalt be--Nothing--Thou shalt not be less.

 While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
 With old Khayyám the Ruby Vintage drink:
 And when the Angel with his darker Draught
 Draws up to Thee--take that, and do not shrink.

 'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
 Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
 Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
 And one by one back in the Closet lays.

 The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
 But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
 And He that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
 He knows about it all--HE knows--HE knows!

 The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
 Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
 Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
 Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

 And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
 Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
 Lift not thy hands to It for help--for It
 Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

 With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man's knead,
 And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
 Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
 What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
-- Omar Khayyam
Fitzgerald's rendition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is a wonderful piece
of hedonist literature. Sometimes depressing with its allusions to fatalism,
sometimes a glimmering beacon of hope with its evocation of hope and
possibility, but always wonderfully beautiful, carried  upon the stilts of
idioms and proverbs that give a brilliant clarity, this is a piece of verse
that invigorates, makes you sit up every time you look at it, makes you
murmur a silent thanks for everything beautiful in life and hope that you
don't get carried by cares and worries that infest life. It gives you the
belief that perhaps you can walk away from it all, follow yourself, seek
pleasures that you've always longed for.

Shamanth.

[Minstrels Links]

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:
  Poem #162, Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
  Poem #342, Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
  Poem #545, The Moving Finger Writes; and, Having Writ
  Poem #654, Think, in this Batter'd Caravanserai
  Poem #750, Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough
  Poem #1354, Ah, Love!, Could Thou and I with Fate Conspire

32 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

John K. Taber said...

I believe the poem is a take off on a well known limerick:

There was an old maid of Racine
Who invented a f*ing machine,
Concave or convex
To suit either sex,
And remarkable easy to clean.

John

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Anonymous said...

good
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