Archive for October 2007

1.* The wisdom of Solomon I would I had

To attain fair judgment now and then

Whether to untie or cut a Gordian knot

To break or pull off a sword by its haft

At this unwelcome crossing of my life

2. How do I find the proper frame of mind

The serene equipose which still stands

As one in the midst of rendering forces

Equipotent vectors that tear it asunder

And cast it to the air into smithereens

3. Should I kneel or crawl before an idol

And pray until my sweat turns into blood

Weep until my eyes from tears get blind

Beat my breast ’til it softens to a pulp

My pose transforms into a Buddhist monk

4. Should I ascend to the Mount of Ararat

To pray for forty days and forty nights

Leaving all my belongings behind to fast

Except the mounting burdens of my life

Until I get cleansed and walk with light

5. To the inner voices of my whole being

To the untracked beatings of my heart

To the incessant ripplings of my blood

To the unnamed cogitatings of my mind

I listen and the missing word must find

6. From the musing and hissing of the wind

From the flutter of a butterfly’s wings

Straddling the swaying form of a flower

And from the singing of a resting male

I may get transformed and earn my gain

7. By the boundless dome of the endless sky

By the nightly path of a twinkling star

By the ever retreat of the horizon’s line

Between the edges of oceans and ground

I’ll chart the route of my life’s sojourn

8. Then could I descend and sit at my house

With my wife and companion seated beside

Holding the cut ends of the Gordian knot

The encased sword as a cane by its haft

To serve the fairest judgment whenever asked

*There are no such stanza numbers in the original poem. However, no matter how I space the stanzas, when it is ‘published’, the lines come out in one continuous poem. Hence, the numbering, to indicate the stanzas.

Albert Hammond – When I’m Gone
This is from www.lyrics007.com

When I’m gone
will you take good care of everything?
Will you keep wearing your wedding ring? When I’m gone.
And when I’m gone
will you take out all the photographs

Maybe spend a moment in the past? When I’m gone.
Will you miss me in the night?
Will your arms reach out to hold me tight

And keep me in your dreams
in your heart
in your life?
Sometimes I’ll wanna run to you like lovers do

When love is new and just for a moment be close to you

Pretending I’m still holding you.
And even when I’m far away the dreams will stay.
And someday
after we’ve both chased our fantasies

Love will bring you back to me.
When I’m gone
I’ll be thinking about you constantly

‘Cause you’re locked inside my memory from now on.
And I know that we said we needed time apart

But your love keeps pulling at my heart
pulling strong.
Will you miss me in the night?
Will your arms reach out to hold me tight

And keep me in your dreams
in your heart
in your life?
Sometimes I’ll wanna run to you like lovers do . . .
Sometimes I’ll wanna run to you like lovers do . . .
Sometimes I’ll wanna run to you like lovers do . . .

dr-leonore-decenteceo.JPG

Dr. Leonore Decenteceo and Family

One wonders how much time should pass before one is able to remember without breaking down, before the pain becomes less acute, before an absence becomes more tolerable or easier to bear. Sadly however I believe that there is no right and wrong answer for that, much less an answer that will be acceptable to one’s senses.

I am proud of how my family has, in their own ways, drawn strength from within their souls to move on. I know that they hurt and ache as much as I, but somehow they seem to bear the loss much more admirably. Were it possible for me to take on the life of a hermit, or to hibernate in much the same way as certain species do, I would gladly take it. But I exist in a world of the here and now, where I am expected to find the courage to move on with my life.

In wonderment I watch my baby grow day by day, listen to her soft cries, feel her warmth as I hold her in my arms, and I am thankful that in her tiny being I am anchored to my present. She is my hope for a future that need not be as incomplete.

2 LETTERS, CHRISTMAS SEASON OF ’89

1. 2 Jan 89 (1:45 AM)

Dear Avi,

The New Year’s Day is over. It went by quietly with me. As I was only by myself, I did not prepare a midnight dinner. I just ate a full and regular supper.

In the early morning I walked halfway to school. It was cold. Midway, it snowed very lightly. I only stayed until 4:15 P.M. in school. I went home to watch a game on TV.

What about there at home? Did you light sparklers at the strike of the New Year? I suppose your Mama prepared a good midnight dinner.

Soon you’ll go back to school. I wish you gladness with your friends and teachers. Happy New Year!

Love,

DAD

2. 2 ENERO 89 (2 A. M.)

MAHAL KONG UCRON,

NALUNGKOT DIN AKO NANG SUMAPIT ANG BAGONG TAON. NAKAHIGA AKO NUON AT NAGBABASA. NARINIG KO ANG MARAMING PUTOK, SUNUD-SUNOD, SABAY-SABAY, AT MALALAKAS, SA MAY KALAYUAN. DITO SA ALDEN PARK TAHIMIK NUON. SUGURO ANG KARAMIHANG NAKATIRA AY LUMABAS AT NAGSAYA SA MGA HOTEL AT KAINAN. HININTO KO ANG AKING PAGBABASA AT INALAALA KO KAYO.

MASAYA BA ANG BAGON TAON DIYAN AT NAGHANDA BA KAYO? ANO ANG MGA PAGKAIN? MAY HIPON AT ALIMANGO BA?

MALAPIT KA NANG MAG-EKSAMEN. MAGPATURO KA KAY AVI’T XEN. ALAM KO, KAYANG-KAYA MO. PERO MAS KAYA MO, KUNG HANDANG-HANDA KA. TAMA BA AKO?

NAGMAMAHAL,

Daddy

[Avi was 7 years old at the time; Ucron, 6, which probably explains the all-caps and the language.]

BRYN MAI P. DAVID

Dear Bryn,

How do you find teaching? Are your students learning from you or with your kind of guidance? Do they do well enough in their tests and class exercises? No teacher ever knows for sure the degree by which her students learn from or with her. Test results are very indirect feedback, as you can figure out. They may be due to the students’ own work and study outside the classroom, more than to their instructors or professors. What a teacher can immediately hope for is whether she transmits her knowledge and understanding of her subject-matter as lucidly, briefly, and with as much life as possible. What she can aim at is whether what she transmits is received at least 75% or so. She has this item of knowledge. A set of ideas. She puts order into them, so that they assume a form, almost like an object. She transmits them in the most effective medium or vehicle she can master or muster. And she hopes that they’ll be received and understood in approximate form and order. That is, the recipient gains the knowledge or the set of ideas.

I imagine that mathematics is harder to teach or transmit. I base my imagining from the number of persons who readily admit, out of at times unmeant humility tinted with lowliness, unsolicited, that the persons are weak in mathematics. And that, despite their formal preparation in some prior and basic courses, they come forth as though they’re blank boards as regards mathematics. I imagine it is harder to excite an average person with mathematics, inasmuch as most if not all of mathematics, by definition and domain, lacks the body–flesh and blood, as it were–which the person can perceive with the colors of feelings, emotions, and motives. In this respect, it is amazing that some uncommon individuals see something in the abstractness of mathematics, which approaches the vividness and colorfulness of objects of life. That is, they not only perceive things which assume the dimensions of the physical, but derive thrill, meaning, and personal repletion or replenishment. It takes aptness to pure law and order to enjoy points, lines, geometries, number systems, theorems and proofs.

[At this point, Dr. David asks Bryn to derive an equation for two sets of numbers, with instructions like "Take the first value in each pair as X and the second as Y.", and so on.]

I’m ok. Weatherwise, Winter has come. Snow fell to as much as four inches last night. It will again fall come Saturday and Sunday. And the temperature stays sub-freezing. It’s good to eat, just to keep up with the need for energy to deal with the cold. It’s nice to be indoors, where it’s warm, like Weiss Hall normally, to work on things that only require minimal physical exertion but a good deal of mentation. If food is aplenty, it’s impelling to indulge and overeat. I imagine that, today being cold and Thanksgiving when food is plenty at many tables and the mood is for celebrating, a lot of people will indulge. Perhaps tonight, I’ll cook more than I usually do for a single meal. And I myself will eat more.

Try to find time to write. I like to remember, as it were, my first days of teaching, in your shoes. Love, Dad

Temple University

Written 23 November 1989

Received 19 December 1989

Fish, formula, FG David

July 14th, 2007 ·

Back in the UP Diliman, in our Psychology 115 class- Experimental Psychology- we were tasked to apply laboratory techniques with the appropriate statistical analysis learned on the study of certain subjects, usually animals. My laboratory partner Cheryl, one of my best friends from high school, put together an experiment to train fish, black mollies if memory serves me right.We got an aquarium, divided it into two sections lengthwise about ¾ of the way, with a different colored light at either half of the partition. Whenever the green light was turned on, we would simultaneously drop fish food into that side of the partition which prompted the fish to go there. When we turned the red light on at the other end, we would not drop any pellets. We wanted to know if we can train fish to go to the side of the aquarium whenever the green light was turned on even if no pellets were dropped. We wanted to find out if mollies were trainable. Were they?

We don’t know. We didn’t get the chance to finish the experiment. We got to the laboratory one morning and found that the fish were all dead. They died a few days before the papers were due. There was no time to make another set-up. We were doomed. Of course, with him as our professor, it was doubly taxing considering that he is the pre-eminent experimental psychology professor in the department. Cheryl and I contemplated on how to tell him our predicament without sounding like bungling buffoons. We could try to but, nah; there was no way we’d get away with faking our data. So we decided to tell him what happened.

With much trepidation, we approached him.

Sir, all our fish died. What should we do?

What should you do? Bury them!

And with that, he joined the ranks of teachers whom I remember with utmost fondness, never to be relegated to the Abyss of Those Whom We Must Forget And/Or Regret To Have Known.

Now that he’s entered the top of my consciousness again, I begin to see that the dossier I have on him in my head is not really a thick one:

All it contains is a mental snapshot of his utterly professorial bearing, his grandfatherly aura, with that knowing twinkle in his eye…

I remember him launching into a 10-, 15-minute monologue on the first day of class, about the weather outside, with matching reminiscences of pre-automobile UP campus and the foliage that made walking a joy (no doubt prompted by the cacophony of jeepneys plying the road in front of Palma Hall Annex which drowned his soft, mild-mannered speaking)…

I remember his hours-long final exam (was it from 2-6 pm?) where we were made to derive the formula for the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) – replete with SS-within and SS-without…

I remember his advice to bury our mollies…

I remember his jacket and his distinct cloth headgear- I don’t know what it’s called but whenever I see it, it makes me want to call him a chap from New York in the 1930s…

I took his class primarily because it has been advised by not a few people that you must not get your bachelor’s degree in psychology without taking a course under him. Needless to say, his reputation preceded him always, made him larger than life. But his candor and humor in the classroom, seeming mismatch to what students and other faculty members paint him to be, made him a most remarkable human being.

About two years ago, Cheryl bullied me into taking her to back to the UP Diliman campus where she hasn’t stepped on since working in Dubai. We took photos of the Oblation, we toured the campus, retraced the paths we took from one building to another. We then decided to crash into the house of another friend who lived just behind the Shopping Center.

We followed the route the jeepneys took, went past the SC and made a right turn when we reached the Post Office. As we turned, we passed by this elderly gentleman walking with an infant’s stroller before him.

No way.

Was it really him?

To find out, I hastily made a U-turn. By this time, they were in front of the Kalayaan Residence Hall. I drove slowly in order to better appreciate his features. IT WAS HIM! We were so excited!

We drove past him again, pondering on whether to say hello or not, and if we would do so, when and how. By the time we decided we’d say hi, I already reached the Molave Residence Hall where I made another U-turn. I slowed down the car as we were passing by him, but nerves got the better of us and we drove away from them. I hope we didn’t scare him.

That’s the last time we saw him up and about on this earth. But what a good last memory he left- him taking, presumably, his grandchild out on an early evening stroll, in the campus that he dearly loved, possibly talking about the things that were, that is, and that can be…

For all that you’ve done for all of us, for the art and science of teaching and learning Psychology in the UP- thank you, Dr. David! Good night and rest well.

Categories: Being a teacher· heroism · moving on· the University of the Philippines

(While I appreciate all the blog entries his students have written about Dad, this is perhaps one of my favorites for, aside from being one of the earliest ones I found on the Internet, it provides an image of Dad as being very human. Yes, that was most likely him taking whom I presume to be my nephew out for an evening stroll — it became one of his favorite past times when his grandchildren started coming. As a Lolo, like most of his other roles in life, he performed it with utmost dedication and passion. Very human indeed.)

[when fg and i got married, i learned that one of his favorite books was 'the rubaiyat' by omar khayyam, as translated by edward fitzgerald. i remember that book very well. a slim hardcover, with a painting of a persian woman with a veil underneath a date tree. i post these poems here in fg's memory.]

The Rubaiyat

By Omar Khayyam

Written 1120 A.C.E.

I
Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strikes
The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.

II
Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?”

III
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted–”Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”

IV
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand Of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

V
Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
And Jamshyd’s Sev’n-ring’d Cup where no one knows;
But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine,
And many a Garden by the Water blows,

VI
And David’s lips are lockt; but in divine
High-piping Pehlevi, with “Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!”–the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That sallow cheek of hers t’ incarnadine.

VII
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time bas but a little way
To flutter–and the Bird is on the Wing.

VIII
Whether at Naishapur or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.

IX
Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

X
Well, let it take them! What have we to do
With Kaikobad the Great, or Kaikhosru?
Let Zal and Rustum bluster as they will,
Or Hatim call to Supper–heed not you

XI
With me along the strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot–
And Peace to Mahmud on his golden Throne!

XII
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

XIII
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

XIV
Look to the blowing Rose about us–”Lo,
Laughing,” she says, “into the world I blow,
At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.”

XV
And those who husbanded the Golden grain,
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn’d
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

XVI
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes–or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face,
Lighting a little hour or two–is gone.

XVII
Think, in this batter’d Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.

XVIII
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter–the Wild Ass
Stamps o’er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

XIX
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

X
And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean–
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

XXI
Ah, my Belov’ed fill the Cup that clears
To-day Past Regrets and Future Fears:
To-morrow!–Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.

XXII
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.

XXIII
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend–ourselves to make a Couch–for whom?

XXIV
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and–sans End!

XXV
Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
“Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.”

XXVI
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss’d
Of the Two Worlds so wisely–they are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
Are scatter’d, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

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 where in I went.

XXVIII
With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d–
“I came like Water, and like Wind I go.”

XXIX
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.

XXX
What, without asking, hither hurried Whence?
And, without asking, Whither hurried hence!
Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine
Must drown the memory of that insolence!

XXXI
Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate
rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate;
And many a Knot unravel’d by the Road;
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate.

XXXII
There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was–and then no more of Thee and Me.

XXXIII
Earth could not answer; nor the Seas that mourn
In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;
Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal’d
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.

XXXIV
Then of the Thee in Me works behind
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
A Lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
As from Without–”The Me Within Thee Blind!”

XXXV
Then to the lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean’d, the Secret of my Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d–”While you live
Drink!–for, once dead, you never shall return.”

XXXVI
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer’d, once did live,
And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss’d,
How many Kisses might it take–and give!

XXXVII
For I remember stopping by the way
To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all-obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d–”Gently, Brother, gently, pray!”

XXXVIII
And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man’s successive generations roll’d
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the Maker into Human mould?

XXXIX
And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
For Earth to drink of, but may steal below
To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
There hidden–far beneath, and long ago.

XL
As then the Tulip for her morning sup
Of Heav’nly Vintage from the soil looks up,
Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav’n
To Earth invert you–like an empty Cup.

XLI
Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow’s tangle to the winds resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress–slender Minister of Wine.

XLII
And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press
End in what All begins and ends in–Yes;
Think then you are To-day what Yesterday
You were–To-morrow You shall not be less.

XLIII
So when that Angel of the darker Drink
At last shall find you by the river-brink,
And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul
Forth to your Lips to quaff–you shall not shrink.

XLIV
Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
Were’t not a Shame–were’t not a Shame for him
In this clay carcase crippled to abide?

XLV
‘Tis but a Tent where takes his one day’s rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest.

XLVI
And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour’d
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.

XLVII
When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As the Sea’s self should heed a pebble-cast.

XLVIII
A Moment’s Halt–a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste–
And Lo!–the phantom Caravan has reach’d
The Nothing it set out from–Oh, make haste!

XLIX
Would you that spangle of Existence spend
About the Secret–Quick about it, Friend!
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True–
And upon what, prithee, may life depend?

L
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
Yes; and a single Alif were the clue–
Could you but find it–to the Treasure-house,
And peradventure to The Master too;

LI
Whose secret Presence, through Creation’s veins
Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; and
They change and perish all–but He remains;

LII
A moment guess’d–then back behind the Fold
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll’d
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.

LIII
But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor
Of Earth, and up to Heav’n's unopening Door
You gaze To-day, while You are You–how then
To-morrow, You when shall be You no more?

LIV
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

LV
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

LVI
For “Is” and “Is-not” though with Rule and Line
And “Up” and “Down” by Logic I define,
Of all that one should care to fathom,
Was never deep in anything but–Wine.

LVII
Ah, but my Computations, People say,
Reduced the Year to better reckoning?–Nay
‘Twas only striking from the Calendar
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday.

LVIII
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and ’twas–the Grape!

LIX
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
Life’s leaden metal into Gold transmute:

LX
The mighty Mahmud, Allah-breathing Lord
That all the misbelieving and black Horde
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.

LXI
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare?
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a Curse–why, then, Who set it there?

LXII
I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must,
Scared by some After-reckoning ta’en on trust,
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink,
To fill the Cup–when crumbled into Dust!

LXIII
Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain–This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

LXIV
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.

LXV
The Revelations of Devout and Learn’d
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn’d,
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
They told their comrades, and to Sleep return’d.

LXVI
I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d “I Myself am Heav’n and Hell:”

LXVII
Heav’n but the Vision of fulfill’d Desire,
And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.

LXVIII
We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
In Midnight by the Master of the Show;

LXIX
But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

LXX
The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss’d you down into the Field,
He knows about it all–He knows–HE knows!

LXXI
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

LXXII
And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’d we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help–for It
As impotently moves as you or I.

LXXIII
With Earth’s first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And there of the Last Harvest sow’d the Seed:
And the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

LXXIV
Yesterday This Day’s Madness did prepare;
To-morrow’s Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

LXXV
I tell you this–When, started from the Goal,
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
Of Heav’n Parwin and Mushtari they flung
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul.

LXXVI
The Vine had struck a fibre: which about
If clings my being–let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

LXXVII
And this I know: whether the one True Light
Kindle to Love, or Wrath-consume me quite,
One Flash of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

LXXVIII
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!

LXXIX
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay’d–
Sue for a Debt he never did contract,
And cannot answer–Oh, the sorry trade!

LXXX
Oh, Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!

LXXXI
Oh, Thou who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And ev’n with Paradise devise the Snake:
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken’d–Man’s forgiveness give–and take!

LXXXII
As under cover of departing Day
Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away,
Once more within the Potter’s house alone
I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.

LXXXIII
Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small,
That stood along the floor and by the wall;
And some loquacious Vessels were; and some
Listen’d perhaps, but never talk’d at all.

LXXXIV
Said one among them–”Surely not in vain
My substance of the common Earth was ta’en
And to this Figure moulded, to be broke,
Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again.”

LXXXV
Then said a Second–”Ne’er a peevish Boy
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy,
And He that with his hand the Vessel made
Will surely not in after Wrath destroy.”

LXXXVI
After a momentary silence spake
Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make;
“They sneer at me for leaning all awry:
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”

LXXXVII
Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot–
I think a Sufi pipkin-waxing hot–
“All this of Pot and Potter–Tell me then,
Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

LXXXVIII
“Why,” said another, “Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marr’d in making–Pish!
He’s a Good Fellow, and ’twill all be well.”

LXXXIX
“Well,” Murmur’d one, “Let whoso make or buy,
My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry:
But fill me with the old familiar juice,
Methinks I might recover by and by.”

XC
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The little Moon look’d in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg’d each other, “Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter’s shoulder-knot a-creaking!”

XCI
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash the Body whence the Life has died,
And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
By some not unfrequented Garden-side.

XCII
That ev’n my buried Ashes such a snare
Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air
As not a True-believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

XCIII
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
Have drown’d my Glory in a shallow Cup
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

XCIV
Indeed, indeed, Repentance of before
I swore–but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

XCV
And much as Wine has play’d the Infidel,
And robb’d me of my Robe of Honour–Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.

XCVI
Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

XCVII
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse–if dimly, yet indeed, reveal’d,
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

XCVIII
Would but some wing’ed Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!

XCIX
Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits–and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

C
Yon rising Moon that looks for us again–
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden–and for one in vain!

CI
And when like her, oh, Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter’d on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made One–turn down an empty Glass!

THE END


The Rubaiyat

By Omar Khayyam

Written 1120 A.C.E.

I
Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strikes
The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.

II
Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?”

III
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted–”Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”

IV
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand Of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

V
Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
And Jamshyd’s Sev’n-ring’d Cup where no one knows;
But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine,
And many a Garden by the Water blows,

VI
And David’s lips are lockt; but in divine
High-piping Pehlevi, with “Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!”–the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That sallow cheek of hers t’ incarnadine.

VII
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time bas but a little way
To flutter–and the Bird is on the Wing.

VIII
Whether at Naishapur or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.

IX
Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

X
Well, let it take them! What have we to do
With Kaikobad the Great, or Kaikhosru?
Let Zal and Rustum bluster as they will,
Or Hatim call to Supper–heed not you

XI
With me along the strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot–
And Peace to Mahmud on his golden Throne!

XII
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

XIII
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

XIV
Look to the blowing Rose about us–”Lo,
Laughing,” she says, “into the world I blow,
At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.”

XV
And those who husbanded the Golden grain,
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn’d
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

XVI
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes–or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face,
Lighting a little hour or two–is gone.

XVII
Think, in this batter’d Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.

XVIII
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter–the Wild Ass
Stamps o’er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

XIX
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

X
And this reviving Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River-Lip on which we lean–
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

XXI
Ah, my Belov’ed fill the Cup that clears
To-day Past Regrets and Future Fears:
To-morrow!–Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.

XXII
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.

XXIII
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new bloom
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend–ourselves to make a Couch–for whom?

XXIV
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and–sans End!

XXV
Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
“Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.”

XXVI
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss’d
Of the Two Worlds so wisely–they are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
Are scatter’d, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

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 where in I went.

XXVIII
With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d–
“I came like Water, and like Wind I go.”

XXIX
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.

XXX
What, without asking, hither hurried Whence?
And, without asking, Whither hurried hence!
Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine
Must drown the memory of that insolence!

XXXI
Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate
rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate;
And many a Knot unravel’d by the Road;
But not the Master-knot of Human Fate.

XXXII
There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was–and then no more of Thee and Me.

XXXIII
Earth could not answer; nor the Seas that mourn
In flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;
Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal’d
And hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.

XXXIV
Then of the Thee in Me works behind
The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find
A Lamp amid the Darkness; and I heard,
As from Without–”The Me Within Thee Blind!”

XXXV
Then to the lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean’d, the Secret of my Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d–”While you live
Drink!–for, once dead, you never shall return.”

XXXVI
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer’d, once did live,
And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss’d,
How many Kisses might it take–and give!

XXXVII
For I remember stopping by the way
To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all-obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d–”Gently, Brother, gently, pray!”

XXXVIII
And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man’s successive generations roll’d
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the Maker into Human mould?

XXXIX
And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
For Earth to drink of, but may steal below
To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
There hidden–far beneath, and long ago.

XL
As then the Tulip for her morning sup
Of Heav’nly Vintage from the soil looks up,
Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav’n
To Earth invert you–like an empty Cup.

XLI
Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow’s tangle to the winds resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress–slender Minister of Wine.

XLII
And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press
End in what All begins and ends in–Yes;
Think then you are To-day what Yesterday
You were–To-morrow You shall not be less.

XLIII
So when that Angel of the darker Drink
At last shall find you by the river-brink,
And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul
Forth to your Lips to quaff–you shall not shrink.

XLIV
Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
Were’t not a Shame–were’t not a Shame for him
In this clay carcase crippled to abide?

XLV
‘Tis but a Tent where takes his one day’s rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another Guest.

XLVI
And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour’d
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.

XLVII
When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As the Sea’s self should heed a pebble-cast.

XLVIII
A Moment’s Halt–a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste–
And Lo!–the phantom Caravan has reach’d
The Nothing it set out from–Oh, make haste!

XLIX
Would you that spangle of Existence spend
About the Secret–Quick about it, Friend!
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True–
And upon what, prithee, may life depend?

L
A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
Yes; and a single Alif were the clue–
Could you but find it–to the Treasure-house,
And peradventure to The Master too;

LI
Whose secret Presence, through Creation’s veins
Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains;
Taking all shapes from Mah to Mahi; and
They change and perish all–but He remains;

LII
A moment guess’d–then back behind the Fold
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll’d
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.

LIII
But if in vain, down on the stubborn floor
Of Earth, and up to Heav’n's unopening Door
You gaze To-day, while You are You–how then
To-morrow, You when shall be You no more?

LIV
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

LV
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

LVI
For “Is” and “Is-not” though with Rule and Line
And “Up” and “Down” by Logic I define,
Of all that one should care to fathom,
Was never deep in anything but–Wine.

LVII
Ah, but my Computations, People say,
Reduced the Year to better reckoning?–Nay
‘Twas only striking from the Calendar
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday.

LVIII
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came shining through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and ’twas–the Grape!

LIX
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The sovereign Alchemist that in a trice
Life’s leaden metal into Gold transmute:

LX
The mighty Mahmud, Allah-breathing Lord
That all the misbelieving and black Horde
Of Fears and Sorrows that infest the Soul
Scatters before him with his whirlwind Sword.

LXI
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare?
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a Curse–why, then, Who set it there?

LXII
I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must,
Scared by some After-reckoning ta’en on trust,
Or lured with Hope of some Diviner Drink,
To fill the Cup–when crumbled into Dust!

LXIII
Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain–This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

LXIV
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.

LXV
The Revelations of Devout and Learn’d
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn’d,
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
They told their comrades, and to Sleep return’d.

LXVI
I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d “I Myself am Heav’n and Hell:”

LXVII
Heav’n but the Vision of fulfill’d Desire,
And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.

LXVIII
We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
In Midnight by the Master of the Show;

LXIX
But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

LXX
The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss’d you down into the Field,
He knows about it all–He knows–HE knows!

LXXI
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

LXXII
And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’d we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help–for It
As impotently moves as you or I.

LXXIII
With Earth’s first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And there of the Last Harvest sow’d the Seed:
And the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

LXXIV
Yesterday This Day’s Madness did prepare;
To-morrow’s Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

LXXV
I tell you this–When, started from the Goal,
Over the flaming shoulders of the Foal
Of Heav’n Parwin and Mushtari they flung
In my predestined Plot of Dust and Soul.

LXXVI
The Vine had struck a fibre: which about
If clings my being–let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

LXXVII
And this I know: whether the one True Light
Kindle to Love, or Wrath-consume me quite,
One Flash of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

LXXVIII
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!

LXXIX
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent him dross-allay’d–
Sue for a Debt he never did contract,
And cannot answer–Oh, the sorry trade!

LXXX
Oh, Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with Predestined Evil round
Enmesh, and then impute my Fall to Sin!

LXXXI
Oh, Thou who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And ev’n with Paradise devise the Snake:
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken’d–Man’s forgiveness give–and take!

LXXXII
As under cover of departing Day
Slunk hunger-stricken Ramazan away,
Once more within the Potter’s house alone
I stood, surrounded by the Shapes of Clay.

LXXXIII
Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small,
That stood along the floor and by the wall;
And some loquacious Vessels were; and some
Listen’d perhaps, but never talk’d at all.

LXXXIV
Said one among them–”Surely not in vain
My substance of the common Earth was ta’en
And to this Figure moulded, to be broke,
Or trampled back to shapeless Earth again.”

LXXXV
Then said a Second–”Ne’er a peevish Boy
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in joy,
And He that with his hand the Vessel made
Will surely not in after Wrath destroy.”

LXXXVI
After a momentary silence spake
Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make;
“They sneer at me for leaning all awry:
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”

LXXXVII
Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot–
I think a Sufi pipkin-waxing hot–
“All this of Pot and Potter–Tell me then,
Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

LXXXVIII
“Why,” said another, “Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marr’d in making–Pish!
He’s a Good Fellow, and ’twill all be well.”

LXXXIX
“Well,” Murmur’d one, “Let whoso make or buy,
My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry:
But fill me with the old familiar juice,
Methinks I might recover by and by.”

XC
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The little Moon look’d in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg’d each other, “Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter’s shoulder-knot a-creaking!”

XCI
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash the Body whence the Life has died,
And lay me, shrouded in the living Leaf,
By some not unfrequented Garden-side.

XCII
That ev’n my buried Ashes such a snare
Of Vintage shall fling up into the Air
As not a True-believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

XCIII
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
Have drown’d my Glory in a shallow Cup
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

XCIV
Indeed, indeed, Repentance of before
I swore–but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

XCV
And much as Wine has play’d the Infidel,
And robb’d me of my Robe of Honour–Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.

XCVI
Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

XCVII
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse–if dimly, yet indeed, reveal’d,
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

XCVIII
Would but some wing’ed Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!

XCIX
Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits–and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

C
Yon rising Moon that looks for us again–
How oft hereafter will she wax and wane;
How oft hereafter rising look for us
Through this same Garden–and for one in vain!

CI
And when like her, oh, Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter’d on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made One–turn down an empty Glass!

THE END


It was Agassiz’s strength that he knew the value of today. Never were such bright skies as arched above him; nowhere else were such charming associates, such budding students, such secrets of nature fresh to his hand. His was the buoyant strength of the man who can look the stars in the face because he does his part in the Universe as well as they do theirs. It is the fresh, unspoiled confidence of the natural man, who finds the world a world of action and joy, and time all too short for the fulness of life which it demands. When Agassiz died, “the best friend that ever student had,” the students of Harvard “laid a wreath of laurel on his bier, and their manly voices sang a requiem, for he had been a student all his life long, and when he died he was younger than any of them.”