Jul 07 2010

Omar Khayyam – There was a Door to which I found no Key

Published by at 8:44 am under Poetry

[32] There was a Door to which I found no Key:
by Omar Khayyam

English version by Edward FitzGerald

There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil through which I could not see:
      Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed — and then no more of Thee and Me.

— from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Omar Khayyam / Translated by Edward FitzGerald

/ Photo by Hamed Saber /

It’s been too many months since we last had a selection from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat.

First, just take a moment to speak these lines aloud. Really feel its rhythm on you tongue, and let its rhyme dance in your ear.

I’m not normally a big fan of strictly rhymed verse, especially in translation, but something about Edward FitzGerald’s translations of Omar Khayyam bring a big smile to my face every time I read them. You can taste the sugar in each line.

There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil through which I could not see…

The door that has no key and the veil through which one cannot see is the final barrier that separates us from the Divine Beloved. That barrier is dualism itself.

Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed

At first there is the dualistic perception of “Me and Thee,” of the separate identities of the lover and Beloved. That sense of separation — separation from God, separation from Source, separation from the True Self — is the fundamental pain of the soul.

Caught in the midst of this dynamic, we feel pain, we struggle, we encounter a terrible emptiness we try to hide from through the dramas of life. But looking back from the perspective of deep realization, it can be seen as a sort of dialog between the soul and the Eternal. The dramas of life… “Some little Talk awhile of Me an Thee…” But there is only a surface appearance here, a seeming — “There seemed”

— and then no more of Thee and Me.

When we look, when we learn to really see, that’s when an amazing thing happens — suddenly that final veil falls away. The barrier is passed, not through some action or “key,” but through the instantaneous recognition that the barrier does not, in truth, exist at all. We are stunned to discover that there is no separation (only the ego’s pretence of a separation). And then — “no more of Thee and Me,” only Divine Presence within, without, everywhere!

Omar Khayyam, Omar Khayyam poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Omar Khayyam

Iran/Per (11th Century) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Omar Khayyam was best known in his time as a mathematician and astronomer. His theorems are still studied by mathematicians today. His poetry really only became widely read when Edward FitzGerald collected several quatrains (rubaiyat) that were attributed to Khayyam and translated them into English as the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The common view in the West of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is that it is a collection of sensual love poems. Although some scholars debate this question, many people assert that Omar Khayyam was a Sufi, as well as a poet and mathematician, and that his Rubaiyat can only be truly understood using the language of mystical metaphor.

More poetry by Omar Khayyam

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Omar Khayyam – There was a Door to which I found no Key”

  1. maryann moonon 07 Jul 2010 at 11:41 am

    Yes, there’s definitely is a romance even in some of these
    Persian poet’s names, Oman Khayyam, Rumi, Mirabai,
    Kabir. And the words they used in their poetry are
    words that dance with some special light that surrounds them.

    The veil through which I cannot see is somehow lifted
    by these romantic names. Their names lend a trustworthy
    kind of feeling to them. I’ve been recently suffering with
    the problem of painful knees. Then a few weeks ago, I met
    an orthopedic surgeon who has one of these poetic names
    and he’s going to be performing some kind of special
    surgery, very non-invasive type, and promises to relieve
    me greatly. His name is Aman Shabi Khan. Very lyrical
    to me! I have faith in him. I may write a poem
    about him when we’re all through.

  2. Sayed Amrullah Abraron 07 Jul 2010 at 10:25 pm

    It is extremely amazing for me to recieve poems from poetry chaiKhana. The peom of the day is really attractvie. It emphsizes on the issues that are remained unexplored. confilicts that are not discussed.

    It was really interesting for me.

    Sayed Amrullah Abrar

  3. Rubinaon 07 Jul 2010 at 10:52 pm

    there is a great deal of pain when one loses that path on which one sets foot to reach Him; it hurts, it hurts a lot and all seems lost but through these verses one can see deep within himself to really feel His presence in the truest form.

    For the last 5 years of my life i find myself lost and in search to reach Him, to be able to talk to Him once again, to hear him guide my way ….. may thru these words of Khayam i find my light to guide the path that seems so dark at the end

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful verse … thank you indeed for all your efforts in sharing the light with us


  4. Dalion 08 Jul 2010 at 2:28 am

    Last week you mentionned that feeling of Oneness with the Divine… “Wahdat al-Wujud”…
    This poem is a perfect example. It radiates from it!
    Thank you Ivan

  5. simonbaghon 08 Jul 2010 at 2:55 am

    the same poem of Omar khayyam,
    translated or recreated in English language by Simonbagh

    the secrets of eternity reveals not for both of us
    solution to the riddle remains hidden for both of us
    what we debate about beyond the veil, all in vain
    as the veil is torn down none of us would remain.

    this what that khayyam believes in

  6. yaelon 08 Jul 2010 at 4:37 am


  7. Rena Navonon 09 Jul 2010 at 1:24 am

    Aparrna got me on the right track with your previous email and I look for her now in this column of letters.

    Today I must content myself with your explanations and I find that sufficient; with just four lines to find all of a poem’s meaning, one must hit the mark fast:

    Ah, “No more of Thee and Me” means not the loss of two. Rather the discovery of truth that binds them.

    Nevertheless, Aparrna, where are you? “Come to me
    bring to me…”

  8. Adrianon 11 Aug 2016 at 10:25 pm

    My father who left school at 14 and was sent to fight at a young age was largely self taught but used to read Omar Khayyam to us. He still thrives at the age of 95 and how he gained his knowledge I have no idea. We have never been religious so his interpretation would not have been as yours but if there is anything mystical about it the words still ring out to us. Another line that we remember from the Rubaiyat :
    “The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, nor any piety nor wit can change but a single line.”
    The moving finger is time and how true the words.

  9. Austin Torneyon 29 Nov 2017 at 10:54 am

    See https://theomarkhayyamclubofamerica.wordpress.com
    for Omar Khayyam Rubaiyat, art, philosophy, stories, humor, and much more than just Omar, as in Everything.

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