Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám


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."

from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

(This is the first page from my version of Omar Khayyám's

Rubáiyát, illustrated with selected pictures from my latest series of paintings.

If you are not familiar with the Rubáiyát, it has been translated

into many different languages over the years. But the illustrations

that accompamy the poem are most all in the Perian stlye--

the native costume--men and women--some drinking wine,

which is a major symbol in his work.

My thought is that symbols change over ther years

but the essence of a poem stays the same.

So in my contemporary version

I have selected a painting to accompany

each pair of verses from the first edition of

Edward FitzGeralds translation--

verse to image

that I feel have a similar essence.)