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Posts Tagged ‘quatrains’

Why read Omar Khayyam? Why read fine poetry?

Poetry is all about our feelings and it is a device by which we bring them into the open. We use words to communicate our needs. It may be as prosaic as asking your barber for a hair cut or ordering the sandwich from a deli. Even to your barber you need be more specific than saying ‘just a cut’. It goes for sandwich as well and you need to choose what shall make it as  appetizing as you want.  Poetry is no way different.

Poetry sets all your feelings with greatest economy of words so words are not stumbling about under the weight of all that you feel but you make them sing, rather. That felicity arises not because you with a trowel slap-dashed your beloved in superlatives. You need not bury but burnish her just enough to please her as well as get your inner state across in no uncertain terms.

It is often you hear man calling woman a peach. It is not out of place when she is in her bloom and has a lovely complexion. I would not find it incongruous if Socrates had called his Xanthippe as pineapple. She was a virago according to historical records and the piny sheath of a pineapple just about describes her prickly nature. Be that as it may peach and pineapples are fruits better left on the dinner table. The point is  objects serve as certain clues for something else. They are symbols. These evoke certain emotions and when you read poetry how these are positioned in a line serves as goad in us to trigger emotions associated them.

Poetry works very well when you are in love. When you moon over your love something more than hormones are at work. Ideas of Juliet standing at the balcony kickstarted in Romeo feelings so hard that he wishes he were a glove: 

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.

Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand

That I might touch that cheek!

That is what poetry meant to do. It makes an idea stand for so many ideas like a cloudburst choking on his heart. Touching a girl’s cheek shall not end there. But everything has its time and place. For the time being the symbol of glove hints his desire without being crude. He desires such closeness.

Can we not use this analogy while we speak of our body and soul? Like young Romeo thrown about by fortunes in love losing Rosaline or finding Juliet are all by chance. We are all eking out a living in the sun, in love and out of love subject to pain and sick of pleasures that are killing us in some other manner. In short our body pulls us in one way while our soul has its needs that need to be met. Like Romeo our body has not yet climbed the balcony to commune with our soul’s delight. Just the same it is there. As humans and given our rational mind we seek our place in the cosmos. There is out there something far greater than our body and its beggarly cravings warrant and when we consider the majesty of celestial spheres and the million years that keep them blazing away our measly four score years must seem beggarly indeed. If such starry canopy is stretched out we must be touched by some royal emblem that we are not aware of. Soul is a symbol of our happy circumstances. If then it is a moot point why do we rather feed the body and starve our soul? Are we fools or what?

Suppose all that cosmos is a bunk why delude ourselves with mysterious cosmos or for that heaven and hell? Such are questions that we can never answer and yet we allow some who claim special privileges as a prophet or an Acharya  to take their words as true! Such a class of conscience keepers can put their yoke on us on fear of hell and damnation to plough this mud-hole we call the earth. What wisdom is there in rejecting our true state to serve motley fools who themselves do not know hereafter and yet on their sayso we are willing to reject our present now?

As a mystic I have composed in the same style as Omar Khayyam using the rubā’iyyāt to express some of the big questions man has down through the ages wrestled with.

You can check out www.lulu.com/spotlight/bennymkje

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With all the hype of blood and gore IS bombed at the  box office.  From Syria to the Levant bad poetry is dead.  But good poetry still rocks! For instance in the Illustrated Omar Khayyam you can begin any where and still find on any page music of the soul.

Don’t take my word for it. Check out

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.

It is the source of all true art and science.” ~ Albert Einstein

What greater mystery can we plumb than that of life? Is there any purpose or direction for which we have been programmed beforehand?

Life is a precious gift and every man and woman has the same gift to be used and it must make sense to our rational mind. So that window of opportunity to make yourself useful to you and others around you is narrow. Between birth and death is it not wisdom if you can throw light on or connect in some way to the mystery with the key you have? If we have been endowed with fine faculties to know ourselves why do we leave it to others? Do we make sense or make sense of what others tell as truth? Of what worth is the lamp of life it it were to be shown under the direction of others than to lead our own path? These are the questions I have covered in the Illustrated Omar Khayyam.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/rubāiyyāt-2014/paperback/product-21805897.html

Illustrated paper back and ebook

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/paperback/product-21799136.html    

 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/ebook/product-21799421.html

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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.

benny

If this were a TV program you shall be in time for a word from the sponsors:
Remember the time you read Omar Khayyam for the first time? I assure you a feast for the eyes and soul.
Here are the links,

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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.)

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/ebook/product-21799421.html

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Check out the link :IMG_1433

http://www.lulu.com/shop/benny-thomas/the-illustrated-omar-khayyam/ebook/product-21799421.html

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I have just finished the new version of the Illustrated Omar Khayyam. It shall carry 50 illustrations,water colour done on 300 gm cold pressed paper. The book shall also carry a foreword by an authority on Omar Khayyam and he is also a scholar and head of the Islamic Studies in one of the most prestigious universities in the US. Right at the moment it is offered to some publishing houses and it will be too early to talk further on this subject. I shall post some illustrations now and then. Bulk of the quatrains are hitherto unpublished.
benny

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