Monday, and here’s another poem I found in the book of Ghazals: Ravishing Disunities
I want old-fashioned metaphor; I dress in black.
My son was murdered. I bear witness in black.
The graveyard shocks with rampant green.
In a rusted chair sits grief, enormous in black.
Died July 16, 1983.
Navy’s white headstone, christcross in black.
A cadnal falmes—sudden visitation.
Loy spirit? Surcease from black?
Grackles keen in mad falsetto.
Treeful of banshees. Fracas in black.
It should be told, of course, in small details
and with restraint (artfulness in black).
He was a sailor in summer whites in a port city.
He was walking, streets dangerous in black.
The bullet entered right shoulder, ricocheted.
In the ground his dress blues decompose to black.
I am Isabel. He was Jerry John. The dead
are listening for their names, soundless in black.
I have been reading about and playing with the poetic form called a Ghazal. The rules of the Ghazal are that it is an unspecified number of couplets. The first couplet sets out a repeating word or phrase in first line, and repeats that word or phrase at the end of every couplet. The word before the repeated words should rhyme in every couplet. And in the final couplet, the author should use their own name. The couplets should each stand alone. This form comes to us from the Arabic, and according to Agha Shahid Ali’s book, Ravishing Disunities, at poetry readings the audience participates in the form by calling out the repeated phrase as it occurs in each couplet. Here’s one by Lisa Rappoport:
When I Was a Boy
I was afraid of the girls: their cliques and all
that gossiping made me sick for them all.
Their willingness to wear dresses
showed they bought into the rhetoric and all.
Worthwhile activities like climbing trees or
were severely hampered by such icky folderol. Continue reading “Ghazal for Monday”