The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XXVII


Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

This is the twenty-seventh quatrain of the Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat. The poet says when he was young and eager to learn the ways of the world, he would keep going from one doctor to another, from one saint to another. He frequented to doors of the learned men (doctor) and to the spiritual men (saint) and heard great arguments and words from them about "it" and "about". The arguments were high sounding about any topic that I could throw at them. But the discourse with these were of not much help. In the end, he came out of the same door as he went in. He is back to the same question and to the same place as earlier.  

Translation - Meherabaan Hoke Bula Lo Mujhe (Ghalib)

meherabaan  hoke  bula  lo mujhe  chaaho  jis  waqt
main gaya waqt naheen hoon ke fir aa bhee na sakoon

zauf  mein  taana-e-aghayaar  ka  shikawa  kya  hai ?
baat kuchch sar to naheen hai ke utha bhee na sakoon

zehar  milta  hee naheen  mujhko  sitamgar,  warana
kya qasam hai tere milne kee, ke kha bhee na sakoon

Line 1/2 - Be kind and call me at any time you want. I am not time that has passed that I can not come back again. Such a simple and an extremely eloquent lines and easy on the tongue. The poet says be kind and caring, you can give me a call any time for I am not passed time that I can not return. I may be unhappy with you or in grief but if you call me lovingly and kindly, I will return your call.

Line 3/4 - In weakness, what complaint is there of the taunt of the enemy.What was said is not some head that I can not lift/bear it up. The poet says, in this state of weakness that I am in, What can I say (complain about) about the taunts of the enemy. I am weak, but I can endure. Their words are not head which I can not carry. In my current state, I can not even lift my head due to weakness, but their taunts are okay. They are not as heavy as my head.

Line 5/6 - I can not even find poison O! tyrant, otherwise. What vow is there about meeting you, that I can not eat (take) it. The poet says that taking poison is not like a vow about (not) meeting you that I can not take. I can do that. But alas! I can not even find the poison O! cruel one. Otherwise I would have taken it. The lines do not refer to a negation is the vow, but in everyday usage a vow is like usually "not doing or not meeting" rather than the other way round. If you read it like that, the lines become much clear and meaningful!

Meaning of difficult words -
sitamgar = oppressor
zauf = weakness
taana = taunt
aghayaar = enemy
shikawa = complaint

Poem Of The Day

The phone giant Apple had been parroting lines from the below poem [O me! O life!] by great American poet Walt Whitman in their TV commercials for their new iPhones. Bit ironic but the only verse the phone users contribute is endless egoistic selfies and small talk over instant messaging. Here is the poem for you to reflect in its full glory!

O me! O life!

  O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
  Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish,
  Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
  Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew'd,
  Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
  Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
  The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

  Answer.
  That you are here—that life exists and identity,
  That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.


This is so so true. So many times around us, in the rigours of the mundane life and sometimes rootless and aimless lives, we do stop by and question it - what good is it? for what? The poet gives the answer that life is just for living. That's it! Life is a reason enough for living. Existence is a reason enough for existing. And in this powerful play that goes on around us, you contribute to it by just living.. existing... I Live because I Exist!

Translation - Laazim Tha Ki Dekho Mera Rasta (Ghalib)

laazim tha ki dekho  mera rasta koee din aur
tanha gaye kyon ? ab raho tanha koee din aur

mit jaayega sar, gar tera patthar na ghisega
hoon dar pe tere naasiyaa_farsa koee din aur

aaye  ho kal  aur aaj  hee kehte  ho ki jaaoon
maana ki hamesha naheeN, achchaa, koee din aur
  
jaate  huve  kahte  ho,  qayaamat  ko milenge
kya khoob ! qayaamat ka hai goya koee din aur ?
  
haan 'ei falak-e-peer, javaan tha abhee 'aarif'
kya  tera  bigadata  jo na marta  koee din aur ?  

tum maah-e-shab-e-char_dahum  the;  mere  ghar ke
phir kyon na raha ghar ka woh naqsha koee din aur ?
  
tum kaun se 'eise the; khare daad-o-sitad ke ?
karta  malak_ul_maut  taqaaza  koee  din aur ?

mujhse  tumhain nafrat sahee, 'nayyar' se ladaayee
bachhon ka bhee dekha na  tamaasha koee  din aur ?

guzree na bahar-haal yah muddat khushee-naakhush
karna tha,  javaan_marg !  guzaara koee din aur
  
naadaan ho jo kehte ho ki kyon jeete ho 'ghalib'
qismat mein hai marne ki tamanna  koee din aur ?

Line 1/2 - It was necessary that you keep an eye out on the road for me for a few days more. Why did you leave alone? Now remain alone for a few days more. Ghalib wrote this ghazal in memory of beloved brother-in-law (Arif) who died young. The poet says, it necessary for you to wait for me for some more days, but now that you have left (died). You remain alone for some more days till the time I also come. 

Line 3/4 - The head will be destroyed, if your stone will not be worn off. I am with my forehead touching at your door for a few days more. Such a haunting thought of utmost grief. The poet says either my head would be lost and erased or your tomb stone would be faded and worn off by my forehead that keep hitting the tombstone. Some thing has to give, and give in soon, either my head or you tombstone.

Line 5/6 - You came yesterday and today you are saying that I am going. Agreed that its not forever, alright! a few more days. Ghalib in his grief, dramatises a scene where his brother-in-law ha has come back from dead and is taking leave. The poet responds what is the hurry, I know it not forever, but stay few days more.

Line 7/8 - When leaving, you says we will meet on the doomsday. That's a good one! Doomsday as if is on some other day. The poet says on the day you were leaving, you said that we would meet on the doomsday. What a thought! as if doomsday is some other day. For me it was the day you left. That grievous day itself feels like end of the world.

Line 9/10 - Yes, O! Lord of the Sky, Arif was still young. What harm would it have caused you if he had not died for a few days more. The poet, O! God, what harm would had been had Arif (brother-in-law) lived some more days. He was still in his prime. 

Line 11/12 - You were the moon of the fourteenth night of my home. Then why did not the state of my house remain the same for a few days more. Arif was the full moon of my home, but why did he vanish so suddenly leaving my house in total darkness

Line 13/14 - You were not like 'this'. Very genuine and strick in settling your account book. The angel of death could have settled the claim some other day. The poet since when has lord of death has been so strick in making his claims. He could have pressed on the claim maybe some other day.

Line 15/16 - Its alright that you hated me and you quarreled with nayyar (pupil of ghalib). You did not watch the children play a few days more! Ghalib says ok, you hated me and quarrelled with nayyar (obviously both situations being untrue), but lets assume they were true for argument, but still you could have stayed to watch your children play some days more!

Line 17/18 - Passed it not in any case, this interval happily or unhappily. you should have, the one who die young! passed a few days more. Ghalib says that getting through with life either happily or in grief is what is living, you should have also done the same for a few days more.  

Line 19/20 - You are foolishly innocent that you say,  why do you live Ghalib? In my destiny, I long for death for a few days more. Now that my friend has passed, you foolishly ask why does Ghalib live. I reply that I long for death a few more days. Its written in my destiny to long for it some more time. 

Meaning of difficult words :-
laazim = necessary
tanha = alone
dar = door
naasiyaa = forehead
farsa = to kneel down and touch the forehead on the ground
falak = sky/heaven
falak-e-peer = refering to the sky
maah-e-shab-e-char_dahum = moon of the fourteenth night
daad = justice
sitad = to take
daad-o-sitad = buying and selling/settlement of accounts
malak = an angel
malak_ul_maut = angel of death, 
taqaaza = demanding/pressing settlement of a claim
bahar-haal = in any case, 
javaan_marg = one who dies young.

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain XXVI


Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies:
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

This is the twenty-sixth quatrain of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat. This is one of the easier quatrains. In the first couple of lines, Khayyam says to come with him and ignore the wise who always talks of caution and wisdom One thing is certain he says and that is that time is short. It will fly away. Rest is all lies and inconsequential. The life we have is the only thing we have and we need to live it before it all goes away for ever. The recurring motif is similar to what we have read in previous quatrains.