Ghazal (# 2)

For those of you who are not new to this site, you will know that I like/love ghazals. I have posted another one by Agha Shahid Ali sometime last year,but I can assure you that this one is different. I hope you enjoy it.

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by Agha Shahid Ali

Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar
–– Laurence Hope

Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight
before you agonize him in farewell tonight?

Pale hands that once loved me beside the Shalimar:
Whom else from rapture’s road will you expel tonight?

Those “Fabrics of Cashmere––” “to make Me beautiful––”
“Trinket”–– to gem––”Me to adorn––How––tell”––tonight?

I beg for haven: Prisons, let open your gates––
A refugee from Belief seeks a cell tonight.

Executioners near the woman at the window.
Damn you, Elijah, I’ll bless Jezebel tonight.

Lord, cried out the idols, Don’t let us be broken;
Only we can convert the infidels tonight.

Has God’s vintage loneliness turned to vinegar?
He’s poured rust into the Sacred Well tonight.

In the heart’s veined temple all statues have been smashed.
No priest in saffron’s left to toll its knell tonight.

He’s freed some fire from ice, in pity for Heaven;
he’s left open––for God––the doors of Hell tonight.

And I, Shahid, only am escaped to tell thee––
God sobs in my arms. Call me Ishmael tonight.

Show Your Work!

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A fan of Austin Kleon work (Show Your Work & Steal Like an Artist) because they always appear at the right time, with pertinent advice, I am daring myself to go one step further and share some poetry in this space that I have already chosen to use mostly for writing about fiction. Hopefully, you will forgive me if I have overstepped my bounds, but I believe, as writers, we should be open to tackling other types of writing. It is because of this that I am putting this out there to share with you.

Truth be told, I fell into reading ghazal’s because I went to a writer’s conference (Bocas Lit Fest) which featured the work of Shara McCallum, a Jamaican born poet who lives in the U.S. At the event she read a few pieces from This Strange Land, including a ghazal. Besides this, I have also read poems by Agha Shahid Ali from his book of poems called, The Country Without a Post Office. He too has quite a few ghazals and both books are fascinating. (And for anyone who isn’t in the know: A ghazal in Middle Eastern and Indian literature and music is a lyric poem with a fixed number of verses and a repeated rhyme, typically on the theme of love, and normally set to music.)


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Anyway, I hope you enjoy the poem and as always, thanks for reading!



How do we arrive into the future?
Is duty our burden? Or is it honor?

O Father, every day you moan, belaboring my profession.
But how can I watch things, and not express doubt?

When Shahid wrote to the world:
Hope extinguished, now nothing else remains.

Our nation too is being torn asunder.
As unrest rolls in on the clouds.

Yet there is no great leader.
No one capable of filling those shoes.

So, every day I listen for the news.
Hoping a caucasus will create change.

Then they ask, “What does Melissa mean?”
Honey bee, I say, in Greek.