Old Poem Saturday – a Ruba’i by Omar Khayyam


My humble attempt yesterday on Red String Paper Cuts at writing a ruba’i (a Persian quatrain form with a rhyme scheme of aaba) shall be followed here by one from the master of Rubaiyat himself, Omar Khayyam. Edward FitzGerald garnered much fame from his translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, essentially introducing the form and poetry of the classical Persian poet (and mathematician, and astronomer, and philosopher, among other accomplishments) to the English speaking world. The first line of this ruba’i has been repeated, used, adapted, and quoted so often in popular culture (an example was recently on the Big Bang Theory TV show), that it has become dissociated from its source – I know this was true for me until recently – so it is good to reunite it to the whole! The entire Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam can be found online for free in many places – but two I found are here and here. Photograph and composition by me. Have a wonderful weekend!