Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday

Ride on a magic carpet...

I

 

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.


When one hears the word Rubaiyat, one automatically thinks of Omar Khayyam, so it is not surprising to find it originated in Persia.  
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Persian: رباعیات عمر خیام) is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and of which there are about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám(1048–1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer.  For a sample, click HERE.



XI

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse ~ and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness ~
And the Wilderness is Paradise enow.

This form consists of four line stanzas (quatrains) and is usually in pentameter form.
Lines one, two, and four rhyme and the third line can be used to interlock the next stanza, if preferred, and by doing so with three or more stanzas, we have a Rubaiyat.




XIII

 

Look to the Rose that blows about us ~ “Lo,

Laughing,” she says, “into the World I blow:

At once the silken Tassel of my Purse

Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.”


Schematic
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám consists of numbered quatrains but the rhymes do not interlock. Thus three stanzas would appear as follows (where each x represents a syllable)

xxxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxxxa

xxxxxxxxxc
xxxxxxxxxc
xxxxxxxxxd
xxxxxxxxxc

xxxxxxxxxe
xxxxxxxxxe
xxxxxxxxxf
xxxxxxxxxe

If, however, you prefer and interlocked rhyme scheme, it would appear as follows:

xxxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxxxa

xxxxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxxxc
xxxxxxxxxb

xxxxxxxxxc
xxxxxxxxxc
xxxxxxxxxd
xxxxxxxxxc

Since this is a Mini-Challenge, you may like to work on a single quatrain. As I am sure you will appreciate from reading the examples of FitzGerald's translations, decorated by the artwork of Edmund Dulac (1882 - 1953), each one is a gemstone in its own right. 



XXXVII

 

Ah, fill the cup:~ what boots it to repeat

How time is slipping underneath our Feet:

Unborn To-morrow and dead Yesterday,

Why fret about them if To-day be sweet!



10 comments:

Rinkly Rimes said...

One of my very favourite poets! My copy, bought as a teenager, is much-thumbed. Thank you.

Abin Chakraborty said...

Let this be my tribute to Wilde...

Mary said...

Hope you all have a good week! I wrote mine combining two prompts...an extra challenge for me.

Laurie Kolp said...

Thanks for this, Kerry!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have not had even the slightest urge to write all week, so this has been squeezed like the last bit of toothpaste from the tube. I always find that form is a great way to circumvent the dread "block".

Marian said...

fun! thank you, kerry. my kids challenged me, too, so i combined them :)

hedgewitch said...

I too have been in the writing doldrums over this long and torpid holiday weekend here--thanks for the impetus to sharpen the pen, Kerry. And the Rubaiyat lived on the nightstand with me all through high school--I still open it up and read parts of it out loud to myself when no one's watching--it's a wonderful form for that.

Mary Ann Potter said...

I only wrote one quatrain, but it was a nifty challenge. A nice experiment in this form.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Hello. I vowed not to join any more prompt sites but this was too good to resist. I love Omar! And I too have had a doldrums and like form to deal with them. :)

jen revved said...

Hi Kerry-- I couldn't resist, not that current poem up fits this wonderful prompt but wanted to tell you that I was given a copy of... and now I think I'll write the poem of the story, the story of the poem! xxxj