The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Would you that spangle of Existence spend
About THE SECRET-quick about it, Friend!
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True-
And upon what, prithee, may life depend?
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
Yes; and a single Alif were the clue-
Could you but find it-to the Treasure-house,
And peradventure to THE MASTER too;
Whose secret Presence, through Creation’s veins
Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; and
They change and perish all-but He remains;
A moment guess’d-then back behind the
Fold Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll’d
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.
But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor
Of Earth, and up to Heav’n’s unopening Door
You gaze TO-DAY, while You are You-how then
TO-MORROW, when You shall be You no more?
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced 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” by Logic I define,
Of all that one should care to fathom, I
Was never deep in anything but-Wine.
by Edward FitzGerald
taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul