Today’s words come to us from 11th century Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet, Omar Khayyám.
I’m not normally a consumer of 11th century Persian poetry (I’m mostly allergic to poetry, per se). But yesterday, I posted a blog about Turkish wines (Turkey: The Jan Brady of Wine) — and these words appear on the labels of the wines from Vinkara Vineyards. I rather liked the words, and I was curious about their origin:
Khayyám is known for writing quatrains — short, four-line poems. More specifically, Khayyám’s quatrains are “independent epigrammatic stanzas — in other words, short, spontaneous, self-contained poems. Each one stands on its own.”1
When once you hear the roses are in bloom,
Then is the time, my love, to pour the wine;
Houris and palaces and Heaven and Hell-
These are but fairy-tales, forget them all.
I did some very quick and very superficial research on Khayyám, and I learned there are certain themes that run throughout his poetry. Khayyám wasn’t a believer in an afterlife, and he wrote frequently about the need to live and enjoy life in the present.
I’m terrible at poetry analysis (hence the poetry allergy), but I think I get this one:
Life is short. Stop and smell the roses. Drink the wine now.
1Flynn, Tom. The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007.