Monday, August 13, 2012

Poetry Monday

My one and only Ghazal, an ancient Persian repeating form of poetry, was published by Tilt-a-Whirl last week.

Please go check it out here.

In the meantime, for comparison, here's a ghazal by contemporary master Agha Shahid Ali, a man I was lucky enough to take a class with before he died far too young.


Ghazal

BY AGHA SHAHID ALI
Feel the patient’s heart
Pounding—oh please, this once—
—JAMES MERRILL
I’ll do what I must if I’m bold in real time.   
A refugee, I’ll be paroled in real time.

Cool evidence clawed off like shirts of hell-fire?   
A former existence untold in real time ...

The one you would choose: Were you led then by him?   
What longing, O Yaar, is controlled in real time?

Each syllable sucked under waves of our earth—
The funeral love comes to hold in real time!

They left him alive so that he could be lonely—
The god of small things is not consoled in real time.

Please afterwards empty my pockets of keys—
It’s hell in the city of gold in real time.

God’s angels again are—for Satan!—forlorn.   
Salvation was bought but sin sold in real time.

And who is the terrorist, who the victim?
We’ll know if the country is polled in real time.

“Behind a door marked DANGER” are being unwound
the prayers my friend had enscrolled in real time.

The throat of the rearview and sliding down it   
the Street of Farewell’s now unrolled in real time.

I heard the incessant dissolving of silk—
I felt my heart growing so old in real time.

Her heart must be ash where her body lies burned.   
What hope lets your hands rake the cold in real time?

Now Friend, the Belov├Ęd has stolen your words—
Read slowly: The plot will unfold in real time.

(for Daniel Hall)

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