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Daily Inspiration — To Omar Khayyam

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Omar, within thy scented garden-close,
When passed with eventide
The starward incense of the waning rose--
Too fair and dear and precious to abide
After the glad and golden death of spring--
Omar, thou heardest then,
Above the world of men,
The mournful rumour of an iron wing,
The sough and sigh of desolating years,
Whereof the wind is as the winds that blow
Out of a lonesome land of night and snow,
Where ancient winter weeps with frozen tears;
And in thy bodeful ears,
The brief and tiny lisp
Of petals curled and crisp,
Fallen at Eve in Persia's mellow clime,
Was mingled with the mighty sound of time.
Omar, thou knewest well
How the fair days are sorrowful and strange
With time's inexorable mystery
And terror ineluctable of change:
Upon thine eyes the bleak and bitter spell
Of vision, thou didst see,
As in a magic glass,
The moulded mists and painted shadows pass--
The ghostly pomps we name reality.
And, lo, the level field,
With broken fane and throne,
And dust of old, unfabled cities sown,
In unremembering years was made to yield,
From out the shards of Pow'r,
The pillars frail and small
That lift for capital
The blood-like bubble of the poppy-flow'r;
And crowns were crumbled for the airy gold
The crocus and the daffodil should hold
As inalienable dow'r.
Before thy gaze, the sad unvaried green
The cypresses like robes funereal wear,
Was woven on the gradual looms of air,
From threadbare silk and tattered sendaline
That clothed some ancient queen;
And from the spoilt vermilion of her mouth,
The myrtles rose, and from her ruined hair,
And eyes that held the summer's ardent drouth
In blown, forgotten bow'rs;
And amber limbs and breast,
Through ancient nights by sleepless love oppressed,
Or by the iron flight of loveless hours.
Knowing the weary wisdom of the years,
The empty truth of tears;
The suns of June, that with some great excess
Of ardour slay the unabiding rose,
And grey-haired winter, wan and fervourless
For whom no flower grows;
Seeing the scarlet and the gold that pales,
On Orient snows untrod,
In magic morns that grant,
Across a land of common green and gray,
The disenchanted day;
Knowing the iron veils
And walls of adamant,
That ward the flaming verities of God--
Knowing these things, ah, surely thou wert wise,
Beneath the warm and thunder-dreaming skies,
To kiss on ardent breast and avid mouth,
Some girl whose sultry eyes
Were golden with the sun-beloved south--
To pluck the rose and drain the rose-red wine,
In gardens half-divine;
Before the broken cup
Be filled and covered up
In dusty seas of everlasting drouth.

-- Clark Ashton Smith

Omar Khayyam is 970 years old today.

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Josh Mitteldorf, de-platformed senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at Read how to stay young at
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there (more...)

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