Its midterms, and Sunday as well as homecoming weekend which may be why it’s super slow at work today. There’s about 10 people in the building, 3 of us being people who work here. I forgot to bring my book from home, but guess what. I have thousands of them here at work, so I’m sure I can find something to pass the time. It’s not easy to read a novel at work, it takes up too much concentration so I’ll opt for poetry, or shorter stuff. This way when a question comes my way it’s easy to switch back into work mode. When I was a kid, I remember seeing this book Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that my mom had next to the area where she kept her wallet, and crystals and feathers and other little worldly trinkets. It was there for a really long time, maybe years. The book itself was long and skinny, red with gold sided pages. When I was a kid I thought it was about some guy who had a yacht made out of rubies and sailed it around the world. Thank goodness it’s not though, that may be a little strange. Here’s a short poetry lesson that I learned today, thanks to a quick google. A Rubaiyat or Ruba’i is a Persian quatrain, or poem consisting of four lines. So basically the whole thing is just a bunch of short little thoughts strung together in lines of four. The individual quatrains were connected and pieced together to form a flowing story by the English writer Edward Fitzgerald in 1859, long after they were actually written.
Poetry reaches us so deeply because it can be anything you want it to be. In my life thus far I find myself more attracted to non-rhyming, contemporary stuff, but a lot of the older stuff I never even bothered to visit because it felt so dry and boring. I guess I’m taking another look at older writings as I get older myself. Western culture and writings seem so young when you match it up to the older Eastern writings. But, East or West, human nature is still human nature, and we may think of ourselves as more evolved than our ancestors, smarter, more moral, the list goes on. The truth is that the eternal struggle has been and always will be. He describes my Saturday night wine and deep thought spiral that got me absolutely nowhere perfectly:
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.
-Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Here’s encyclopedia Britanica’s explanation of this work:
“The verses translated by FitzGerald and others reveal a man of deep thought, troubled by the questions of the nature of reality and the eternal, the impermanence and uncertainty of life, and man’s relationship to God. The writer doubts the existence of divine providence and the afterlife, derides religious certainty, and feels keenly man’s frailty and ignorance. Finding no acceptable answers to his perplexities, he chooses to put his faith instead in a joyful appreciation of the fleeting and sensuous beauties of the material world. The idyllic nature of the modest pleasures he celebrates, however, cannot dispel his honest and straightforward brooding over fundamental metaphysical questions” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016).
In other words: That time when Omar Khayyam was basically all of us. Me especially this week.