Monday, 5 May 2008

Two poems by Omar Khayyam

Two poems that I really enjoyed:

Du ruzeh kuzeh-gari raftam dush
Didam do hazar kuzeh, guya va khamush
Nagam Yaki kugeh baravard khamush
"Ku kuzegar va kuzekar va kuzefarush?"

Two days ago I went to the potter's workshop
There I saw two thousand clay jugs, speaking and silent
One jug that had been silent began speaking-
"Where is the potter and the jug-buyer and the jug-seller?"

Essentially, this poem is alluding to an existential quandary that many of us experience. The clay jugs ("kuzeh") are an oft-employed motif for people - clay comes from the Earth, to which we will eventually return. The speaking jug's question may be interpreted as: Where have I come from? (the potter) Where will I go? (the jug-buyer) How will I reach my ultimate end? (the jug-seller)

Iin yek do seh ruzeh nobat-i omr guzasht 
Chun aab bajuyabar va chun baad bedasht
Har giz qam do ruz mara yaad nigasht
Ruzi ke niamedast va ruzi ke guzasht

In these one, two, three days an entire lifetime has passed 
Like running water in a stream, like wind through the air
Never will I remember two days:
The day that is yet to come and the day that has already passed

Here, I think Khayyam is simply telling the reader to live in the present, not dwelling on the past, which has already happened, or the future, which is yet to happen. The imagery of the second line as well as the general melody of the words are beautiful.