Monday, December 07, 2015

Rubiayat of Memory

This is to say we remember,
not that it brings diamonds back. September
blew in and made a swirling exit,
leaves curled in the fire. You watched embers

float away, and let them. You hope your wits
won't do the same. Memory? Bullshit's
compass. There is a kind of beauty
without it, in forgetting, a benefit

in submerging your papers in a stream
to see the ink wash away. It seems
to me, well, what use are words anyway?
Mine thrum on repeat, a pattern, my bloodstream

of familiar family stories. So dear
one day I will mix and match, premiere
my latest work: a collage of December's
blankest pages, a trembling chandelier.

This is definitely not a true rubiayat. I followed the interlocking pattern, but discarded the pentameter (or tetrameter) rules of meter. Meter be damned -- at least in this poem.

We spent an evening with a friend from Iran recently, and he talked about the The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. The Rubáiyát  is a translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and numbering about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám (1048–1131), a Persian poet, mathematician, and astronomer. A thousand poems!

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