Written for: dVerse Poets Pub – Poetry Forms: “The Rubaiyat” (posted by Frank)
A single ruba’i is a quatrain, a poem of four lines. If there is a collection of more than one quatrain, it is called a rubaiyat, This is what Edward FitzGerald titled his 1859 translation of Omar Khayyam’s quatrains
Fitzgerald chose iambic pentameter, generally 10-syllable lines with alternating accents, for the meter in his translation. The original meter had a longer line of about 13 syllables with possible variations on the pattern of accented and unaccented syllables. Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” had shorter, iambic tetrameter lines.
The original Persian rhyme schemes were AABA or AAAA. The second rhyme scheme allowed one to think of the quatrain as a double couplet.
Fitzgerald used the AABA rhyme scheme in his translation. The unrhymed B line is a signal for the English-language reader that the form is a “Rubaiyat Quatrain” rather than some other four-line poem.
Having the unrhymed third line allows the poet to optionally use that sound from the first quatrain as the main rhyming sound in the next quatrain thereby interlocking the quatrains.
The purest love that one can ever know
is often elusive except in a poem.
Do poets pen lines hoping truth will ensue,
or are their ideals too lofty to follow.
If personal experience flows in ink,
then sharing lifts spirits providing a link
to those who had given up, to now pursue
a life they have envisioned, a path of pink.