Posts Tagged ‘quatrains’

The tree of life has stars all lit for leaves

And below sends bitter roots through abyss:

Seek not where your sweetness begins or ends,

Your sentient life, and not the tree, lies.”



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Lightly we foot it where our peers left off

As seasons crowd out the smooth with the rough;

We descend through tunnel of time, for sleep

And how others make do with theirs: enough.


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OKquatrain borders



Who did on this narrow turf lay out stars,

And give it command to run its course?

Days scald me with despair and the night

Bind me to its post and curfew enforce.


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Who pedals the wheels of time to ov’rturn

Glory of man gone to rack and ruin?

The titles and honors he had amassed

Are laid a-heap left for the worms to scorn.


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Of the very substance,- Ah dust I am,

Veiled, the light of wisdom is but dim:

Its sovereign rays penetrate however,

Dispers’d through my sentient flesh, a prism.


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Bless’d be the One who with grace infinite

Steel’d a heart to hear and do what is right;

Whence did then come this thirst to pass the hour

Or look upon death’s icy cold hands with fright?

(freely translated from Edward FitzGerald-The Rubaiyat)



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Out of earth did the Maker knead the man

And showed the heaven and stars to scan:

How long he shall sit here in silent awe

And stare at the earthen bowl and groan?

benny- free translation of Edward FitzGerald

Thus it was to this earthen jar I reckon’d
My secret, in its ample hold to be found.
But the porous jar spoke: death is the end:
Life sober and dry is not life jocund.

Variation: kit’ah
The spirited spout by its very shape
Gives somewhat a hint that it holds within;
‘Peer not in confusion of mouth agape
Drink deep and learn of me,’ so says the urn

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Love, Death

Never more crimson my love’s cheeks tinted

Than the sun in leave- taking hour blushed,

Said she, ‘You’re much sinn’d ‘gainst as I, by death,

We part to be one with earth’s treasures mix’d’.



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Rubaiyat#100- Yon Rising Moon

Yon Rising Moon that looks for us again-
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same garden- and for one in vain!
(Edward Fitzgerald translation-fifth edition)

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Illustrated Omar Khayyam-cover

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