Posts Tagged ‘Benny Thomas’
Posted in Persian poetry, philosophy, poetry, tagged Benny Thomas, envy, love of the world, malice, quatrain#27, quatrains, the Illustrated Omar Khayyam, The Sword of Damocles, threat on September 12, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Love of the world is like the sword of Damocles. You seek wealth, fame, name all for what? These are not you. Let us see what gave rise to this expression: the sword of Damocles..
According to legend, when Damocles declared that his king, Dionysius, must have such a enviable and easy life, Dionysius offered to trade places with Damocles. There was only one catch. Dionysius decreed that a sword be suspended over the throne by a single horse hair, so that Damocles would always know the peril of being king. Since then the Sword of Damocles has come to represent a threat of doom that could strike without warning. Being a man and prey to maladies of all sorts bereavement, envy of neighbors, malice of those for whom you only wished well are risks that can overwhelm you.
Quatrain #27 explains this:
Pomp and circumstance, how trivial are they
Against time,-and envy can find its way:
Like shadows that belie the lay of land
Find we even our blood join in the fray.
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness
I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?–
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.
Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you All.
This colour plate does not find place in the book.)
For those who are interested in Omar Khayyam my version shall certainly resonate as true to the original. Imagine the pleasure of reading him for the first time? Eight hundred years later you can relive the pleasure his quatrains first produced among his readers.
“In the ten sections of his book, Benny Thomas has composed his own Khayyāmasque quatrains covering most of the central and salient features of Khayyāmian themes. Whether it is in the chapter titled “Cup of Wine” or “Love Feast,” the essence of Omar Khayyām’s Rubā‘iyyāt is echoed in the poems of Benny Thomas. For those interested in a mystical reading of Khayyām’s quatrains, this collection of poems provides an invaluable insight…” (Selected from the Foreword by Prof. Mehdi Aminrazavi the author of The Wine of Wisdom.)