> Of late I’ve been reading and practising writing “rubaiyat” (plural), an adapted form of the classical Persian quatrain, each derivative quatrain or four-lined verse called a “ruba’i”. In Persian I’m told, the ruba’i is only 2 lines long…
The most famous example of the adapted rubaiyat form in English is Edward FitzGerald’s 1859 translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
. Another very popular form of this Persian quatrain is found in Robert Frost’s
1922 poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
“. We’ve all read it, haven’t we? Still one of my favorite poems.
Now each ruba’i that I’ve written below are only evolving ones, because I’m constantly changing them and re-working them. It is not as easy as it seems, but definitely fun, especially when the rhyme scheme has to contain a pithy idea. Here I use the AABA rhyme scheme:
Brutus Sings A Ruba’i
From behind O Caesar, when I saw your trusting head
I imagined homeless folks, kids hungry in bed
Democracy raped, chasms deep all around
That noble moment let my hand, remorseless, strike you dead.
Shakuntala Sings A Ruba’i
If a ring were everything, a face, an identity
I should call my luck all but serendipity!
Thus I too have learnt to take a passing fancy
At faces like talismans. There’re too many, O king, in your city!
(I don’t like putting footnotes, so I’ll let readers find out on their own about Shakuntala’s story and the reference here…)
Mobocracy – a Ruba’i
This is where you took home millions
And nurtured your unworthy scions
Those that hardly cared for a ballot to come clean
Or reach out to lambs eaten by lions!
(Persian literature in translation has engaged me ever since I was a child. For more information we can go to A Brief History of Persian Literature
, by the Iran Chamber Society. Feel free to add more ruba’i on the Comments section or on your respective blogs. Will be fun!)