The ghazal is an old form originating with Arabic poetry in the 6th century. The use of couplets and the strict pattern of repetition are dictated by old rules. Traditionally, each couplet stands on its own in terms of theme/content. Traditionally, too, the final couplet somehow refers to the poet herself/himself. These are my first ghazals, written in the summer of 2014.
There will be a broken mirror far beyond the on and on.
In crevices the gritty substance shone and plumbed the on and on.
Bite against the sandy surface, ruddy surface, shining sea.
Child with apple bright and broken sang and drummed the on and on.
In the alley all the trash cans call to cats on summer nights.
Old guitarist, blue and stringy, never found the on and on.
Heavy women sink the ships, dreaming nightly of the land,
circling slowly, darkly, sadly, closing round the on and on.
Tiny tumblers under sky, happy in the hands of gods,
did somersaults on summer lawns and slyly thrummed the on and on.
Sodden apples, fallen, wormy, decorate the tangled yards.
Clear design in clearer glass, shattered, stunned the on and on.
Twist the list and toss it over, let it ride the roaming foam.
Let the meadow lie in shade, let mind abscond with on and on.
Ghazal for Lenny Joyce
—in memoriam July 2014
Into decades, clear thick wall, perhaps a mirror, I bow, and recollect.
Into death, dispersed, not disappeared: allow, and recollect.
He was as vivid as cut red glass in sun, a cup, accepting.
He was young and large with long dark hair. The gods endow, and recollect.
Ah, the many years, the drinks, the poetry, the suffering, the politics--
the core cannot have burned to crisp, the man was good. Let us avow, and recollect.
He drew love, magnetized and shining. He drew irritation, rage. He was not small.
Remember overalls, a hippy look, a happy mind. Those eyes. And now. And recollect.
Perhaps a life is evermore complete. Perhaps a soul eternally explodes
into a finer, wilder air. Perhaps he's there. I bow and breathe: Oh, thou. And recollect.