“And ye who ponder over creed and prayer,
And ye who, dazed by doubt, well-nigh despair,
Oh, hear the voice that, sudden, cries, aloud —
Fools, the right path is neither there, nor there!
Tis but a breath betwixt the false and true,
‘Twixst faith and doubt, and soul and body too;
Or carpe diem! all that life can give
Is one short breath, and then — ah would we knew!”
— Omar Khayyam
This great poet is often claimed by the West to be an atheist, and by the East as a great saint (in so far as those distinctions exist: East and West, atheist and saint). He is mostly known as the former through Edward Fitzgerald’s translation, yet, it is not an honest translation. Later translators such as the one above by George Roe, attempt to be truer to the content of the text. Khayyam was a poet and mathematician whose woes and words have traveled through centuries to resonate in the hearts of seekers of life.