Aloha and welcome friend. Here is a list of personal favorites from the various translators with illustrations taken from my travels around the world. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. - Sandor Szabo





Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light









In Heaven's blue bowl the wine of morning brims
A little cloud, a rose-leaf, in it swims
The thirsty earth drinks morning from a bowl
Whose sides are space and crusted stars its rims









The wine-cup is the little silver well
Where Truth, if Truth there be, doth ever dwell
Death too is there, and Death who would not seek?
And Love that in itself is Heaven and Hell









Within the haunted wine-cup more than wine
It is that makes a mortal man divine
We seek a drink more deadly and more strange
Than ever grew on any earthly vine









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








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









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!









For here are wine and beautiful young girls
Be wise and hide your sorrows in their curls
Dive as you will in life's mysterious sea
You shall not bring up any better pearls









In the sweet Spring a grassy bank I sought
And thither wine and a fair Houri brought
And though the people called me graceless dog
Gave not to Paradise another thought









In Paradise, they tell us, Houris dwell
And fountains run with wine and oxymel
If these be lawful in the world to come
Surely 'tis right to love them here as well








Some wine, a Houri (if Houris there be)
A green bank by a stream, with minstrelsy
Toil not to find a better Paradise
If other Paradise indeed there be









And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour, well
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the goods they Sell









Indeed, indeed Repentance oft 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









Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in mens' eyes much wrong
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup
And sold my Reputation for a Song









Drunkards! so be it, yet if all were wise
All would be drunk like us, with dreaming eyes
Poor sober world, so doleful all the day
Leave mosque and mart, and join our Paradise









This is no way my learned life to use!
Tell me a better, then, that I may choose
Shall I for some remote imagined gain
My precious little hour of living lose?









Old Khayyam, say you, is a debauchee
If only you were half so good as he
He sins no sins but gentle drunkenness
Great-hearted mirth and kind adultery









O men of Morals, why do you defame
And thus misjudge me? I am not to Blame
Save weakness for the Grape, and female Charms
What sins of mine can any of Ye name?









Strange in this wicked world how hard to find
A fellow-soul to honest sin inclined
Sinners at home are always saints abroad
The rose must never dare to speak its mind









Hear now Khayyam's advice, and bear in mind
Consort with revelers, though they may be maligned
Cast down the gates of abstinence and prayer
Yea, drink, and even rob, but oh, be kind!








I am not lawless, though I break the Law
Drunken I am with very love and awe
'Twas ever thus with veritable seers
Too drunk with joy to tell us what they Saw








You to the Mosque, with howling hymn and prayer
I to the temple of the Vine repair
The one true God in divers ways to Seek
I find him Here, but do you find him There?









Hands, such as mine, that handle bowls of wine
'Twere shame to book and pulpit to confine
Zealot! thou'rt dry, and I am moist with drink
Yea, far too moist to catch that fire of thine!










He who believes in hell and knows Thy grace
Shall surely Find in hell his resting-place
Keep for the Mosque these fables of Thy wrath
No man believes them who hath seen Thy face










O thou who for thy Pleasure dost impart
A pang of sorrow to thy fellow's Heart
Go! mourn thy perished wit and peace of mind
Thyself hast slain them, like the Fool thou art










How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit








Allah, that numbers all my Whitening hairs
Knows, without telling, all my little Cares
Grateful is Allah, he will not Forget
I have not wearied Him with endless prayers









Though I had sinned the Sins of all mankind
I know Thou would'st to Mercy be inclined
Thou sayest, "I will help in time of Need"
One needier than I where wilt Thou find?









O fill the Cup and let me drink it all
Forgetting woes brought on by Man's great Fall
Let fragrant Wine abolish all sad thoughts
That fill my mind, too prone on them to call









For spring is here, with all his ancient fires
Quick with old dreams, and thrilled with new desires
Vowed to repent, yet sure to sin again
O leave repentance to your withered sires!









Spring, with the cuckoo-sob deep in his throat
O'er all the land his thrilling whispers float
Old Earth believes his ancient lies once more
And runs to meet him in a golden coat









And many a lovely girl that long hath lain
Beneath the grass, out in the sun and rain
Lifts up a daisied head to hear him sing
Hearkens a little, smiles, and sleeps again









Would you be happy, hearken, then, the way
Heed not tomorrow, heed not yesterday
The magic words of life are Here and Now
O fools, that after some tomorrow stray!









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









Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
The Thread of present Life away to win
What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in?








Yesterday this day's madness did Prepare
Tomorrow'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









Only a Breath divides belief from doubt
'Tis muttered breath that makes a man Devout
Yea, death from life only a Breath divides
O haste to Drink before that breath is out









Youth, like a magic bird, has flown away
He sang a little morning-hour in May
Sang to the Rose, his love, that too is Gone
Whither is more than you or I can say









The moving Finger writes, and having Writ
Moves on, nor all your Piety or wit
Shall lure it back to Cancel half a Line
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it









Ah fill the Cup, what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet
Unborn To-morrow and dead Yester-day
Why fret about them if To-day be sweet?









Alas for that Cold heart, which never glows
With love, nor e'er that charming Madness knows
The days Misspent with no redeeming love
No days are Wasted half as much as those









If in this Shadow land of life thou hast
Found one true Heart to love thee, hold it fast
Love it again, give All to keep it thine
For love like Nothing in the world can last








Hearts with the light of Love illumined well
Whether in mosque or synagogue they dwell
Have their names written in the Book of love
Unvexed by hopes of heaven or fears of hell








To lovers True, what matters dark or fair?
Or if the loved one silk or sackcloth wear
Or lie on down or dust, or rise to Heaven?
Yea, though she sink to Hell, he'll seek her there









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









If in this Life you feasted full, what then?
Suppose the latest of your Days has come, what then?
If you have lived a hundred happy Years
And have yet a Hundred years to live, what then?








Today is thine to spend, but not Tomorrow
Counting on Morrows breedeth naught but sorrow
Oh, squander not this breath that Heaven hath lent thee
Nor make too sure another Breath to borrow








For have you thought how short a time is ours?
Only a little longer than the flowers
Here in the meadow just a summer's day
Only today -- tomorrow, other flowers









Good friends beware! the only Life we know
Flies from us like an Arrow from the Bow
The caravan of life is Moving by
Quick! to your Places in the passing show










One Moment in Annihalation's waste
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste
The Stars are setting and the Caravan
Draws to the Dawn of Nothing. Oh, make haste!









Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
The Winter garment of Repentance fling
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly, and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing








Now that your roses bloom with flowers of bliss
To grasp your Goblets be not so remiss
Drink while you may, Time is a treacherous foe
You may not see another Day like this









Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk. One thing is certain, that Life flies
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies
The Rose that once has blown for ever dies









While still thy body's breath is warm and sweet
Follow thy pleasures with determined feet
Ere death, the coldest lover in the world
Catches thee up with footsteps still more fleet








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









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








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









Think, in this battered Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two, and Went his way









All those who in their graves unheeded lie
Were just as pompous once as You and I
Complacent spake their little arrogant names
And wagged their heads, and never thought to die









Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, they are thrust
Like foolish Prophets forth, their Words to Scorn
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust









'Tis a strange world we came to, You and I
Whence no man knows, and surely none knows Why
Why we remain, a harder Question still
And still another, Whither when we die?








Up from Earth's center through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the throne of Saturn sate
And many Knots unravel'd by the road
But not the knot of human death and Fate









Some say we came God's purpose to fulfill
'Faith a poor Purpose then, if so you will
Sport for the heavenly Huntsman, others say
Sorry the sport, methinks, and poor the skill








Whilom, ere youth's Conceit had waned, methought
Answers to all life's Problems I had wrought
But now, grown old and wise, too Late I see
My life is Spent, and all my lore is Naught









O love, how green the world, how blue the sky
And we are living, living, you and I!
Ah, when the sun shines and our love is near
'Tis good to live, and very hard to die








In all those star-cold Heavens shall we find
Another Home, so safe, so green and kind?
O gentle Earth, methinks my heart will break
At the mere thought of leaving you behind








Many have come and run their eager Race
Striving for pleasure, luxuries or place
And quaffed their Wine, and now all silent Lie
Enfolded in their parent Earth's embrace









The grave of beauty is its cradle too
And new is old, and old is ever new
Little grows great, and great grows small again
And I today, perchance tomorrow You









For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before
And one by one crept silently to Rest









For in and out, above, about, below
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go









'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for pieces plays
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays
And one by one back in the Drawer lays









Lost to a world in which I crave no part
I sit alone and listen to my heart
Pleased with my little corner of the earth
Glad that I came, not sorry to depart








'Tis but a Day we sojourn here below
And all the Gain we get is grief and woe
And then, leaving life's Riddles all unsolved
And burdened with regrets, we have to Go








Since all man's business in this World of woe
Is sorrow's pangs to feel, and grief to know
Happy are they that never come at all
And they that, having come, the soonest go









While the Rose blows along the river brink
With old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to Thee, take that and do not shrink








Why if the soul can fling the Dust aside
And Naked on the air of Heaven ride
Wer't not a shame, wer't not a shame for him
In this Clay carcass crippled to abide?









Ah, when at last the shrouded Saki, Death
Brings me a Cup so sweet it takes my breath
Shall I not bid him Welcome like his brother?
Life I have feared not, shall I then fear death?








Into this life of cruel Wonder sent
Without a Word to tell us what it meant
Sent back again without a Reason why
Birth, life and death, 'twas all Astonishment









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








Would we were sure of some Oasis blest
Where, the long Journey over, we might rest
O just to sleep a hundred thousand Years
Tired head, tired heart, within the Earth's dark breast









Ah love! could Thou and I with Fate 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!








If I were God, and this poor world were mine
O thou shouldst see on what a fair Design
I would rebuild it like a Dream for thee
Nor shouldst thou ever blush to call it thine









When, with wild joys and sorrows Broken quite
I face the morning of the endless Night
Still shall I call for Wine, and still for thee
And Pleasure close the Eyes she once kept bright









How wonderfully has the day gone by
If only when the stars come we could die
And morning find us gathered to our dreams
Two happy solemn faces and the sky