Ghazal

Ghazal

Ghazal

A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 28 2001 3:00 AM

Ghazal

The ghazal can be traced back to seventh-century Arabia. In its canonical Persian (Farsi) form arrived at in the 11th century, it is composed of autonomous or semi-autonomous couplets that are united by a strict scheme of rhyme, refrain, and line-length. The opening couplet sets up the scheme by having it in both lines, and then the scheme occurs only in the second line of every succeeding couplet—i.e., the first line (same length) of every succeeding couple sets up a suspense, and the second line (same length but with the rhyme and refrain—the rhyme immediately preceding the refrain) delivers on that suspense by amplifying, dramatizing, imploding, exploding. Here the reader will notice that "ime" is the rhyme and "for time" is the refrain.

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You who searched the world for a brave rhyme for time
got real lucky with a Guggenheim for time.

At the shrine I'll offer not roses but clocks.
When I return, I will have no time for time.

After the first death, there's only the first, which
with each death is now your paradigm for time.

All summer the news from the lost peaks said that
soldiers had died simply in a climb for time.

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From new springtimes gather your loot of blossoms.
Let Kashmir arrest you for a crime for time.

Must we always cook with heartless substitutes?
Caraway for cumin and cloves? And lime for thyme?

When the blade became secretary to steel,
the knife's sanctuary was made sublime for time.

You never belonged even to yourself though
as you abandoned me your cry was I'm for time.

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What a wonderful party! It is the Sabbath!
And everyone's cry is "L'Chaim." For time?

I really need a drink to be able to drink!
That clink—cracking ice—crystals my chime for time.

The Country of the Blind has ordered mirrors.
Its one-eyed king's vision is now prime for time.

The gravestones are filled with poetry or pathos?
Well, you knew the war was a pantomime for time.

Who amputates clock-hands to make you, Shahid,
await the god not there with all the time for time?