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The Change Challenge Issue

The change challenge produced some excellent ghazals, as you will see. Taylor Graham's "Listening to the News" (below) sets the context for the rest fo the poems with its overview of change. The ghazals that follow consider change in history, nature, personal life, society … but these are abstract terms. Read the poems for the particular, concrete images and situations they present.

These ghazals (twenty-one, including the proem) also play changes on the ghazal form, from pretty traditional Persian/Urdu ghazals to tercet ghazals and freer ghazals; all of them, however, use the disjunctions, the jump or leap, between couplets or tercets. I’m leased to present these ghazals for your reading enjoyment.

Listening to the News

Taylor Graham

Along the Nile, the ancient stones wake, exchange
slow whispered greetings. The wind's word: Change.

Alteration. Mutation. Turn. Metastasis. Revolution.
Transformation — a few of our words for “change.”

The radio-alarm each morning breaks into dreams,
tells us it's 6 a.m. The whole world cries for change.

Last week at school, a stranger walked into class,
opened fire. What do first-graders know of change?

In a single week he lost an uncle and a sister; found,
in an old letter, a buffalo nickel. “Spare change.”

Tonight she's Juliet — tomorrow, Joan of Arc or
Cleopatra. Costumes ready. Has she time to change?

The stones of Egypt have seen dynasties erode
to sand. Each cuneiform stroke translates to “change.”

That old Greek torso in Rilke's rhyme — a riddle
to puzzle this poet: how might my life change?

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