Thursday, November 23, 2017

Carpe Diem #1312 The Grape

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This month we are reading "The Rubaiyat" by Omar Khayyam. One of the themes is "wine", the joy of life. And in today's quatrain this theme returns in a very rare way, but also in a wonderful way. In this quatrain Omar Khayyam "becomes completely one with wine" in a certain kind of way.

I am not a drinker of wine, I am more of beer and bourbon, not to much and certainly not every day. Of course I like a cold beer so now and than, after a busy day at work for example, but only if it is the last day of work before a few spare days. I never drink as I have to work.

hot summer night
drinking a cold beer with my love 

ah her sweet perfume

© Chèvrefeuille

Okay ... back to "The Rubaiyat", sorry for leaving the path for a little while. I think the following quatrain is one of the most beautiful quatrains of "The Rubaiyat", in my opinion of course.

Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the life has died,
And in a Winding Sheet of Vine Leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Gardenside.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

In a way this verse is somewhat morbide, but it also describes a wonderful funeral. Khayyam says literaly that he wants a funeral in the way of how his life has been.

Drinking Wine in the Garden (Persian art)
Let me give you the background on this quatrain I have praised.

Background: (Source: Bob Forrest)

The meaning is: let me drink Wine while I live, and when I die, wash my body in Wine, give me a Vine Leaf for my shroud, and bury me in a nice Garden somewhere.

Edward Scott Waring, in his book A Tour to Sheeraz, by the Route of Kazroon and Feerozabad (1807), of which FitzGerald had a copy, relates the following:

“Many of the great people keep sets of Georgian boys, who are instructed to sing, to play on various instruments, and perform feats of activity. The Persian songs are very sweet and pathetic; and the music which accompanied their voices I thought to be very good. Their songs are in praise of wine and beauty, mixed with frequent complaints of the cruelty of their mistresses. The following is a specimen of their songs:

Hasten hither, O cup bearer! ere I die;
See that my shroud be made of the leafy vine.
Wash me in rosy wine,*
And scatter my ashes at the door of the tavern.
I am faithful, I am still constant;
Turn not away from me, for I am a suppliant.

The Arabic songs are sung in parts, and much quicker than the Persian time. There are two men at Sheeraz who are considered to be very superior players on an instrument very like a violin; I heard them, and admired them much, but could form no judgment on their performance. These men, and the dancers, drink wine in enormous quantities, and that too publicly.” 

Waring’s footnote (*) reads: “It is the custom in all Mussulman countries to wash the body before it is buried.”

A Tour To Sheeraz by Edward Scott Waring (cover)
FitzGerald used several sources himself to create his translation of "The Rubaiyat" by Omar Khayyam. Of course that's okay, but as we have seen / read, sometimes his translation is very different of other translations. Maybe that has to do with the difficulty of translating Persian to English. 

last breath
autumn leaves the low lands
first Robin spotted

© Chèvrefeuille

We are running towards the end of this wonderful CDHK month. There is just one week to go, so I am busy with the preparations of December 2017. That month will be an awesome month full of quotes taken from the novels by Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite authors (as you already know), in which he shares a lot of his knowledge and insights. His novels all have a certain kind of spirituality and philosophy in it, of course in every novel you can sense his presence. December will be really an awesome month I think. Of course I will bring the weekend=meditations too and our traditional "Seven Days Before Christmas" feature. More to come soon!

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until November 30th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new weekend-meditation later on.

PS. I have our new exclusive CDHK E-book in tribute of Jane Reichhold almost ready. I hope to make it available for downloading next week. So you have to be patient ...

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