The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

I’ve been through my books,  trying to decide which ones to donate to the library.  I saw this quote recently and thought it summed things up nicely.

“Some people say life’s the thing, but I’ve always preferred reading.”  – Logan Pearsall Smith

For some reason, I have an old copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.  I decided to keep it for a while yet in my small book collection. 

A rubaiyat is a long poem with an AABA rhyme scheme. 

Omar Khayyam was a mathematician, as well as a poet.  I’ve always liked the Rubaiyat’s carefully-metered fatalism.   These two quatrains have always stayed in my mind: 

And that inverted bowl we call the sky/Whereunder – cooped, crawling – we live and die/Lift not your hands to it for help/For it as impotently moves as you or I.

The moving finger writes, and, having writ/Moves on.  Nor all your piety nor wit/Shall lure it it back to cancel half a line/Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

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