An Introduction to Persian PoetryI. Rubaiyyat of Baba Taher "Oryan"
By: M. S. Tajar, Ph. D. Ed. D.Former Lecturer, University of the Philippines
“The aesthetic and intellectual delight of mankind has been greatly enhanced by Persian literature, the poetry especially.”“…New Persian, whose emergence as an incomparable vehicle of poetrymaybe in 900 A.D. Poems of Hamzala Baad-ghisy.”
(Avery, P.W. of the Kings College / Cambridge / U.K. “Persia: History and Heritage” HenryMelland, London. 1978 / p.65)
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Since 1859, when the first Persian Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam was translated intoEnglish, by Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883 A.D.), the world of Poetry has never been sodelighted to see another Rubaiyyat translation into English language, but this time evensweeter, softer and touchier, i.e. the Rubaiyyat of Baba Taher “Oryan,” the Persian Sufi-poet (990 A.D).While the great Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyyat appear to be somewhat hedonistic,Epicurian and worldly (“Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you will die,” and that’sprobably because the poet himself was a philosopher, mathematician and an astronomer,in other words, a scientist, and thus he was more “physical” and he was looking at theworld from the point of view of a scientist,) the great Baba Taher was a Sufi, a spirituallover, and an “Oryan” (“Naked!” from all the worldly possessions) and his poems flowlike a spirit, and they are ethereal, like the air itself, or the "morning breeze," if youplease.Look at this Rubaiyyat of him, for example. While talking to the Beloved, he says:“My eye-socket, O’ my love, is your own very home!My forehead, O’ my life, is your entry gate!My eyelids, O’ my darling, could hurt your lovely feet,Be careful, coming in, honey, before it’s just too late!”Even though, like Omar Khayyam, Baba Taher also talks about the Love, about the lover,about wine, about roses and nightingales, etc. as almost all the Persian poets do, yet,while Khayyam is denying the future, (and he is seeking the “now” and the “here,”) BabaTaher is longing for, and actually looking for It! In other words, he has just one purpose1