It’s Valentine’s Day weekend coming up and so the second (of only three) entry in the G section of the poetry dictionary seems appropriate. It’s the ghazal. I wrote my first ghazal in 2013, in response to a lesson and prompt at dVerse Poets Pub. It is a beautiful form that lends itself to poetry of love.
Today I am challenging you to write a ghazal of at least five couplets. For the refrain phrase, I would like you to select one of the paint chip words or phrases below. Here is John Drury’s definition of the ghazal.
GHAZAL (guz’ -ul; Arabic, “talk about love” or “the cry of a gazelle when it is hunted down and trapped”) A lyric poem of at least five and up to roughly fifteen couplets, originally written in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, and other Middle Eastern languages. The form probably originated in Arabia in the seventh century. The couplets are not connected but stand as independent units within the poem. The poet is free to make associative jumps from one couplet to the next but not to enjamb between them. Only the first couplet (matla) rhymes (aa), but the second line of every succeeding couplet thymes with it (Xa). In the last couplet, the poet may insert his name, although this is sometimes omitted.
In traditional ghazals, the rhyme word (qifia) is usually followed by a refrain (radif) made up of a single word or phrase. This rhyme-and-refrain combination also occurs at the end of the first line of the opening couplet.the poetry dictionary, p. 124.
The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with are sour grapes, arboretum, aura, coral, green light, blizzard, and primrose path. As mentioned above, I’d like you to choose one of these as the refrain for your ghazal. Use as many others as you choose.
If you can weave in a Valentine’s Day theme, extra bonus points for you.
Since I’m short on time (as usual), I’ve decided to limit myself to a five-couplet ghazal. But I’ll try to make them good ones. The one weird thing about the ghazal is having each couplet be independent. We’re so used to poems being more cohesive.
The Impending Blizzard Some people hope for the green light aura of a wizard When the news portends a crazy winter blizzard. I count on the warmth and strength of my Sweetie When wind and ice threaten the chill of a February blizzard. Swirling and growing in ocean depths the lovely coral Are a plethora of sea creatures, a veritable blizzard. Although it seems some days are sour grapes galore, These trials pale in comparison to the deadliest blizzard. Curled up by the fireside, a cup of tea, a book, and My love by my side, I care not about the impending blizzard.
Now it’s your turn to write a lovely ghazal. You can share it in the comments. Or, if you prefer, post it on your blog and share the link in the comments. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with.