Treasure Island

Michael Shepherd

(8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0008 A Ghazal about Ghazals


A poet friend spoke of a poetic form called a ghazal
and said, why don’t you try to write a poem like a ghazal?

They’ve been revived in recent years in English, in fact
there’s even a periodical devoted to the ghazal…

and you’re rather keen on that mystical poetry stuff?
and love and such? Why don’t you try the ghazal?

My usual reaction to suggestions like that is, no..
but I googled Wikipedia out of curiosity, on ghazal

which told me everything about it except
why anyone should choose to write a ghazal..

which as you see, is such a restrictive poetic form..
And then I found a passing mention about the word ghazal

it said that the name came from the cry of the gazelle…
and that, told me more than anything about the ghazal…

since a gazelle, like any animal, bereft of the power of speech
and thus of poetry, is the very essence of the ghazal

in that, whether from pain, from danger, from love
- or visited by God - cries the same cry of the gazelle – the ghazal;

as poets, seeking to express the inexpressible, are as limited
in their success, as crying animals, in their way – the ghazal

may thus be seen as every poem that ever poet wrote;
crying within itself, one cry alone...So the ghazal

must choose the human word for its repeated call
with care... ah! yearning heart! ... for One or All! ... Ghazal!

Submitted: Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Edited: Thursday, November 25, 2010

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  • Alison Cassidy (11/30/2006 5:47:00 AM)

    So often it takes a strict discipline such as this old poetic form to provide just the right a creative thread to begin an intricate and unusual philosophical tapestry. Clever and highly imaginative read. love, Allie xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Report) Reply

  • Suzan Gumush (11/25/2006 10:12:00 AM)

    Ghazal is also an old tradition of turkish folk songs of which words are chanted when they sing. Excellent verse. I liked it. Best wishes suzan (Report) Reply

  • Not a member No 4 (11/22/2006 12:21:00 PM)

    And yet this ghazal has somehow proved to be a revelation! The inexpressible wrestled to the floor and forced to give more than a little away! Devilishly inventive as usual Mr Shepherd. Thank you (Report) Reply

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