A thousand blossoms with the day

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Iranian poet, Omar Khayyam in 1048. He was a poet, astronomer, mathematician, but is probably best known here for his famous poem which is best known in translation:

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam

translated by Edward Fitzgerald

Awake! For morning in the bowl of night
Has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight:
And lo! The hunter of the east has caught
The sultan’s turret in a noose of light.

Dreaming when dawn’s left hand was in the sky
I heard a voice within the tavern cry,
“Awake, my little ones, and fill the cup
Before life’s liquor in its cup be dry.”

And, as the cock crew, those who stood before
The tavern shouted – “open then the door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”

Now the New Year reviving old desires,
The thoughtful soul to solitude retires,
Where the white hand of Moses on the bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the ground suspires.

Iram indeed is gone with all its rose
And Jamshýd’s seven-ringed cup where no one knows;
But still the vine her ancient ruby yields,
And still a garden by the water blows.

And David’s lips are lock’t; but in divine
High piping Pehleví, with “wine! wine! Wine!
Red wine!” – The nightingale cries to the rose
That yellow cheek of hers to incarnadine.

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring
The winter garment of repentance fling:
The bird of time has but a little way
To fly – and lo! The bird is on the wing.

And look a thousand blossoms with the day
Woke – and a thousand scattered into clay:
And this first summer month that brings the rose
Shall take Jamshýd and Kaikobád away.

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