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Hello, this is Frank Hubeny. Today’s challenge involves the rubaiyat. It is to write a poem that uses the rubai stanza form as inspiration if not actual imitation of the form.

This has been done three times before at dVerse. Samuel Peralta offered a challenge of writing rubaiyat quatrains.

Björn Rudberg also wrote a challenge using this form.

Gay Reiser Cannon showed how Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods” uses a variation of the rubaiyat. Frost used iambic tetrameter rather than iambic pentameter lines and interlinked the rhymes.

A rubai or stanza in a rubaiyat is four lines long and rhymes AABA in iambic pentameter meter. That is how Edward Fitzgerald translated Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. Khayyam was an 11th century Persian. Fitzgerald’s translation appeared in 1859.

According to A. S. Byatt who introduced an edition of Fitzgerald’s translation in 1996 described the original rubai as “a two-line stanza of Persian poetry, divided further into two, of which the first, second, and last parts must rhyme”. (Page vii) The collections of rubai were originally arranged alphabetically “according to the last letter of the rhyme”. Khayyam wrote rubai “as civilised Japanese wrote haiku”.

Here is a dramatic reading of Fitzgerald’s translation of Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. (Source: mdebailes)

The challenge today is to use the rubai as inspiration and create your own variation. Your variation may be very close to Fitzgerald’s four iambic pentameter lines rhyming AABA or it might be surprisingly different. The only requirement is that you would claim what you are posting is a rubai or rubaiyat if there are more than one stanzas.

If you would like a guiding theme, consider this famous poem from Khayyam’s Rubaiyat:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

To participate write your poem. Post it to your blog. Copy the link to your blog post and paste that into the Mister Linky below. There will be others linking as well. Read and comment on them. That is how we get to know each other better. The prompt will be open for two days.