Back to 2004 Ghazals
Thu Apr 22 10:02:33 2004
One reason for the delay between issues of The Ghazal Page--there was a dearth of submissions. Perhaps it was the winter weather, or the sun in warmer latitudes. In any case, submissions have picked up again; here is the first set of ghazals for 2004.
Five ghazals here. Three follow all, or most, of the traditional form. Two don't use the rhyme or repetend but do follow the spirit of the ghazal in being sequences of disjunct couplets (or shers, if you prefer.
Dawn Ho's poem, "Shades of White," presents us with a rich palette of sea-colors. The poem is an impressionist range of tones, tints, and intense, vibratory hues. The feeding shark that ends the poem sheds the imagination's blood.
Roger Robinson's "A Classical Ghazal" piles on the rhyme, as he rhymes radif and qafiya. You'd think such intensely repeated rhymes in English would tire the ear--after all, English's poverty of rhyme makes the ghazal a difficult form as it is. Yet in this poem, the intense repetitions reinforce the wit. And each poet mentioned is worth careful reading. (And his pen-name, "senex," carries the appropriate wit to sign this poem.)
For another, earlier example of rhyming beyond the call of ghazal-duty, see "Yasmin," by James Elroy Flecker. I discuss this poem and the site hosting in the first blog for 2004.
Matthew Skelly's ghazal, "Ghazal of a Light in the Dark," gives us the full ghazal treatment in form and in content. The mood that informs this poem should be familiar to all of us. It reads as a restatement of the book Ecclessiastes (Qoheleth) in Tanak (the Christian Old Testament, the Jewish Holy Book),
Christina-Marie Umscheid's poems depart furthest from traditional ghazal form, but, to me, they stay consistent with the ghazal spirit of disjunction, of a cubist collage of perceptions. The "small boats" she sends "out to sea" are sea-worthy and agile even in heavy weather.
by Dawn Ho
Shimmering in water, a ray of light,
Pearl lies in creamy flesh of age-old mussel,
Shell dwarfed by plains of tropical coral,
Silvery fish zip as massive shark passes,
Shark shatters sea surface as ash seals skim,
Crimson fuses cobalt in streaks of blood,
by Roger Robison
Poets owe debts, so disburse lines of verse.
Martial was master of short bits of wit.
Ovid once authored a guide book on love.
Juvenal's poems were scornful of vice.
Vergil's "Aeneid" was epic in scope.
Horace, in lyric tones, penned many odes.
Senex, let's face it, your ghazal is dreck.
by Matthew Skelly
Our morals and spirits are sold while we die
And despite any claim that we live in humility
Breaking down barriers to take what is left
Our noses pressed against the frost covered glass
Our covetous hearts long for more than we've got
With freedom we're stingy and keep all we've got
We're filed in closely and made to "think straight"
We exploit any heroes and uplift their pride
Our interest are not in the matters of fact
But this gift of God can dispel the dark
Matthew means gift of godBack to the top
by Christina-Marie Umscheid
On a cliff, an eagle's nest is empty.
Stars mock night
Pyramids bring haunting images
Remains of ancient times
What meaning is in round birthing bellies
Water gives life or takes it away.
Whisper a secret in my ear
Build a fire in a circle.
Here snow has gone
Wind frets with leaves
Poets tie paper, round and woven
by Christina-Marie Umscheid
Today is the first day of the monkey year,
One hundred makes a theory come true.
Starting the wolf moon hunger howls in the belly.
Salt licks at edges
New winds move a storm
Shovels turn flatness into paths
Animals run not to hide
Wolf lips touch the mouth
Paws are tender on ice
Bits of snow melt on rugs