Canopy (in Persian: Khaymeh, Khaimah, Saayehbaan, Pardeh, Chaador, etc.) is a term, which has been used by many poets around the world. Canopy can be replaced with some synonyms such as Cover, Awning, Shelter, Sunshade, Marquee, Tent, and so on. The family name of famous Iranian poet, Hakim Omar Khayyam, has been derived from the term Khaymeh (one of the Persian terms for Canopy). Some sources also indicate that his father was either a Tentmaker (in Persian: Khaymeh Saaz, Khaymeh Dooz) or he was involved in the business and trade of Tent or Khaymeh.
Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary defines Canopy as “An ornate covering of cloth, wood etc. suspended or held over a bed, throne, shrine or person”. Cambridge Dictionary defines Canopy as “a cover fixed over a seat or bed, etc. for shelter or decoration”, “the large circular piece of cloth that is the main part of a parachute”, etc.
Poetry Chain of Canopy
Here is a poetry chain of Canopy composed by some British and American poets:
1. Sonnet 125: Me I bore the Canopy
Were't ought to me I bore the canopy,
With my extern the outward honouring,
Or laid great bases for eternity,
Which prove more short than waste or ruining?
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favour
Lose all and more by paying too much rent,
For compound sweet forgoing simple savour,
Pitiful tghrivers, in their gazing spent?
No, let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mixed with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee.
Hence, thou suborned informer! A true soul
When most impeached stands least in thy control.
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
Translation of the Shakespeare’s poem to modern English: Would it mean anything to me if I were to carry the processional royal canopy, dignifying such shows of power with my presence; or lay the foundations of monuments intended to last for eternity but which in reality endure no longer than it takes them to decay or be destroyed by such things as war? Haven't I seen those who dwell on outward appearance and the favour of the powerful lose everything and even more than that by putting everything into it, spending all they have on lavish displays instead of enjoying simple pleasures in pursuit of their superficial desires? No, let me be committed only to you. Accept my offer, simple, but freely given, containing nothing but the best, having no ulterior motives, with only mutual exchange – myself for yourself. Go away, you paid spy! When an honest soul is accused you have no power over him.
We all live under a canopy
of hope, hate, love and lies.
The canopy gets bigger
every day within our lives.
We walk through the world
each day brings new things
that come under our canopy.
David Harris/ 5 February 2008
3. A Canopy of Silence
The wings of night
few silently under a silver moon,
lovers gazed into each other’s eyes
as they walked together
under a canopy of silence.
The eyes of night watched
as they walked
and no murmur was heard.
It was if they were enveloped
within a canopy of silence.
The two lovers leant against a tree
entangled in each other’s arms
as the moon shone down on them
and the stars danced in the night sky.
They held each other close
under a canopy of silence.
David Harris/ 22 March 2009
4. The Canopy
I have tried to live in American cities
From Boston to San Diego
And every place I stayed, I loved
I just couldn’t afford to live there
From the age of twelve DC was home
Even though I lived in other places
Where ever I lived I lived alone
Now I am a denizen of the canopy ages
Murphy Payne/ April 14, 2011
5. Little Canopy
Raindrops trickle down from an unrelenting sky,
I'm looking for a miniature canopy, something nearby,
My hopes are fading, dissipating as the torrent nears,
What is your name again? I haven't used you in years.
I see the crowds of people, fighting against the tempest,
I've found you near the door, awaiting my new quest,
No newspaper, jacket, purse would suit my pressing need,
Just guard me from the droplets, and I'll take the lead.
Anonymous/ 11 Dec 2010
Poetry Chain of Khaimeh
1. Though Khayyam' name was derived from the term Khaymeh, he amazingly used that term only once in his famous quatrains. Here is the quatrain where Khayyam referred to Khaimeh:
گر شاخ بقا ز بیخ بختت رست است
ور بر تن تو عمر لباسی چست است
در خیمه ی تن که سایبانیست ترا
هان تکیه مکن که چارمیخش سست است: حکیم عمر خیام
(۲۸ اردیبهشت ۴۲۷ خورشیدی- ۱۲ آذر ۵۱۰ خورشیدی)
And here is the corresponding English version:
Though the five cords of fortune support your prop of stability
And on your body life is a fine garment
In the tent of the body which is your shelter
Don't be secure, its four pegs are unstable
The above English translation has been attributed to the late British scholar Peter Avery (1923 - 2008) who has also added a footnote to the translation that reads as follows, "The four tent-pegs which support the body's tent are the four humours, bodily fluids corresponding to the four elements. It was believed that health depended on a proper balance of these four humours to give a 'good-tempered' man".
2. Here is a Persian poem on Tent (in Persian: Khaymeh) as composed by Hafez:
غرض ز مسجد و میخانه ام وصال شماست
جز این خیال ندارم خدا گواه مـن اسـت
مـگر بـه تیغ اجل خیمه برکنـم ور نی
رمیدن از در دولت نه رسم و راه من است
از آن زمان که بر این آستان نـهادم روی
فراز مسند خورشید تکیه گاه من اسـت : حافظ
(حدود ۷۲۷ – ۷۹۲ هجری قمری)
As translated by Dr S. Shahriari, the English version of the above poem reads as follows:
For Thee, in the mosque and the tavern, my time, I spent;
By God, from this intent, I never ran nor walked astray.
Only, Angel of Death's blade can uproot my tent
Running from love and grace has never been my way.
From the time that I made my search for Thee my intent
I lean upon the throne on which the sun may lay.
3. A very interesting Persian poem referring to Khaimeh is the one, which was composed by Feraydoon Moshiri and a fragment of the poem may read as follows:
غباری خیمه بر عالم گرفته
زمین و آسمان ماتم گرفته
چه فصل است این که یخبندان دل هاست
چه شهر است این که خاک غم گرفته ؟ فریدون مشیری
(۱۳۰۵ - ۱۳۷۹)
The complete Poetry Chain of Khaymeh, in Persian Text, has been posted as a separate thread here
M. Saadat Noury, PhD
Avery, P. (2007): Online Robayyat Khayyam
Cambridge Dictionary (2011): Online Definitions of Canopy
Harris, D. (2008): Online Poem of Canopy
Harris, D. (2009): Online Poem on a Canopy of Silence
Modern Shakespeare Resources & Translations (2009): Online Sonnet 125
Payne, M. (2011): Online Poem of the Canopy
Saadat Noury, M. (2011): Articles on Persian Poetry
Saadat Noury, M. (2011): Online Poetry of Chains
Shahriari, S. (1999): Online “Poetry of Khajeh Shamseddin Mohammad Hafiz Shirazi”
Various Sources (2011): Poems and notes on Canopy and Khaymeh
Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary (2003): Notes on the Definition of Canopy
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