Dancing shaman with a kingfisher's head.
Back to 2007 Ghazals

The Ghazal Page

August Issue

The Chimera

Jim Doss

She was of divine race, not of men, in the fore part a lion,
in the hinder a serpent, and in the middle a goat, breathing
forth in terrible manner the force of blazing fire. And Bellerophon
slew her, trusting the signs of the gods.

— Homer, The Illiad

The beast appeared to you in the form of voices,
three separate heads that spoke with children's voices.

They haunted your sleeping and waking, taunted
you into catatonic trances with their sing-song voices.

Your psychiatrist diagnosed it as repressed sexual guilt,
prescribed heavy medication to deaden the voices.

Your priest said the devil inhabited your soul,
offered to perform an exorcism to free you from the voices.

But the heads of the beast said: no, listen to us, not them,
we are your guides, do as instructed by our voices.

The beast grew stronger, larger as each day's pills
were skipped, communions missed. A trinity of voices

echoed through your brain. You covered your ears
with pillows, banged your head with a book. Your own voice,

a pebble standing against the flood. Gun, knife, mother, father,
were you the only hero left who could rise up to slay these voices?

Back to the top

Assateague Island

Jim Doss

The gentle curve of the beach along the Atlantic ocean,
constantly reshaped by the wind and waves of the ocean.

Wild ponies browse on marsh grasses, wax myrtle,
groundsel, their bellies swollen like waves from the ocean.

Nearby fishermen kneel in the sand to dig mole crabs,
use them to bait hooks to cast their prayers into the ocean.

Pirate Bill Wilson, his mistress claimed, hid ten chests
of gold on the island before he was hanged across the ocean.

Spanish galleons sunk offshore with treasure and crew,
trinkets washed up on the beach by the constant churn of the ocean.

Dead end roads of splintered macadam ripple over rolling dunes,
houses wiped out when the storm of '62 blew in from the ocean.

In summer the tourists pitch their umbrellas in the sand,
lather up with sunscreen, frolic in the joys of the ocean.

When they depart, the souls of those lost here wander the beaches,
searching for what was taken from them by the ocean.

Back to the top

Autumn Leaves

Sukhdarshan Dhaliwal

As the colourful autumn comes to complying leaves
The autumn is filled with the fragrance of drying leaves

Don't fill your soul with sadness as they fall off the trees
Just paint your heart with the lively spirit of dying leaves

As the night falls asleep in the lap of the autumn moon
The passionate nature is embracing the sighing leaves

Under the dark clouds of depression, grief, and sorrows
I have seen the tears of pain in the eyes of crying leaves

Capture the majestic beauty of autumn in your eyesight
The magical season is flying away with the flying leaves

As my voyage comes to an end, I have to leave the ship
Even trees will not be able to hold their drying leaves

One day, Darshan will also disappear and become dust
One can see this reality through the eyes of dying leaves

Back to the top

Radiant Eyes

Sukhdarshan Dhaliwal

As I tasted the sweet wine of your fragrant eyes
I wanted to lose my senses in your radiant eyes

Every fiber of my heart feels the waves of love
When you behold me with your exuberant eyes

As you embraced to lift me out of my despair
I felt the ecstatic grace of your illuminant eyes

Just for that dance in the rain of your fragrance
Let me touch the rhythms of your vibrant eyes

Whenever the memory of your love touches me
My heart throbs in pain to see your elegant eyes

Let me inscribe your name upon my poor heart
And enable me to worship your magnificent eyes

Darshan found the sweet rapture of your charm
Within the heavenly sight of your pleasant eyes

Back to the top


Teresa Camacho

Hrant is an Armenian man's name thought to mean "spear."

Will I see and have you with me today?
I count the hours and minutes today

Without your burning desire I cannot live another night
Anxiously moving about the garden and dying for an afternoon of love today

Love appeared long ago and it seems as if it has been with me forever
Hurry my love — my love cannot wait much longer today

How many times will your make me submit to your will and desires?
Will the desire be longer than the longing today?

Make me yours only — infinitely as long as you desire
Dear God, do not let it end today.

Back to the top

Editor's Comments

Jim Doss

I read "Chimera" in the context of recent uses of ancient mythology to provide stories for us moderns to use to unravel our psychic knots. This poem puts the story into the mix of psychiatry (including psychiatric medications) and Christian exorcism. One imagines that we all hear voices at various times. What to do with them? This poem brings Odysseus and the Sirens to mind as well — another set of distressing and dangerous voices. How can we listen without being shipwrecked?

This ghazal vividly evokes a place and its history.

Sukhdarshan Dhaliwal

Autumn is my favorite season; this ghazal expresses some of the reasons. Is "the lively spirit of dying leaves" too paradoxical? As the leaves detach from the trees, the wind whirls them around — a lively dance that ends on the earth. "Radiant Eyes" is one of the most traditional ghazals to appear on The Ghazal Page, from its form to its theme.

Teresa Camacho

This ghazal is also very traditional in theme and, largely, in form. Desire may be, or seem, infinite, but the fact is that we have only "today" to realize our desire or experience its frustration. In contrast to "Radiant Eyes," "Hrant" conveys more the sense of desire still hoping, still anticipating its culmination. Loss and absence are persistent human experiences.

Back to the top