Friday, August 12, 2011

Heart's Light

Heart’s Light

Down in my dreams a man walks in the dark.
He has new skins for old souls in the dark.

Take my face in two hands, my eyes with yours.
What deepens your thirst quenches mine, wine dark.

Split the smooth noose, spit out the serpent gag.
Pull your heart up from the spindle of dark.

Feather your wings for this blue starry night.
We'll have the secrets of flight hatched in dark.

Who stamps feet, impatient with dawn and still
incomplete? Who do I meet in the dark?

Feed me with hunger, sharp, heavy and strong.
It's filling is sweet as song in the dark.

Light of my heart, the hot day’s long and bright.
Why is it joy is found best in blue dark?

August, 2011

Posted for    Form for All    at dVerse Poets Pub

This is my attempt at a ghazal.

Gay Cannon has invited John Alwyine-Mosley(@bookdreamer) to host this week's Form For All at dVerse, a look at the ghazal form. Here's an explanatory quote from his article:  
"..Stresses can fall wherever the quantitative pattern used suggests. Hence, in English you can write the couplet based on the number of syllables per line or in iambic pentameter keeping roughly the same pattern per line set from the beginning. It’s roughly, because what matters is the sounds and cadence when read aloud! Or even sang as Ghazals are important classical musical forms  throughout the middle east...
Traditional Ghazal rules of form are very clear. The opening couplet is called a matla, which sets up the rhyme scheme (qaifa) and refrain (radif) by having it occur in both lines. Then this scheme occurs only in the second line of each succeeding couplet for at least five additional couplets and in practice as many as needed. To end the ghazal, the poet has a signature couplet, the (makhta) in which they mention their name or refer to themselves..."

Image: Starry Night over the Rhone, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888, oil on canvas
Vincent van Gogh [Public domain]via wikimedia commons 


  1. This is visceral and sensory and mythic. All images that speak to me. This is one of my favorite poems.

  2. skins for old souls..and feed me with hunger...brilliant

  3. Woowww...what a beauty!
    And it rings true to the letter!! I actually got goosebumps wen I read the last stanza, Joy... simply beautiful! I could hear myself asking WHY does it have to be that way...this alluring darkness...


  4. I don't know nothing bout geometry (or ghazals), but I'm I know this encounter in the blue dark, how essential it is, even though it's less substantial than last night's fireflies ... That inward figure is a dark angel when freed from any outward context (how demonic that man becomes when we think he is a real man out there in some next honkey-tonk). And yet all those outward ventures I think drew us, eventually, in surrender, to the inward one, where we found him -- and ourselves -- at last. My garden muse sends a high-five sign of the horns to her homeboy, your noctal dude with the soul-blue shoes. Loved it. - Brendan

  5. lovely ghazal true to form...full of longing, and you inserted your name in the last line.

    I like these lines:

    Take my face in two hands, my eyes with yours.
    What deepens your thirst quenches mine, wine dark.

  6. I'm stunned actually - its beautiful and intriguing. Well done. I'm here from the hop.

    P.S: I do a creative blog hop over the weekends - this would be a superb addition, should you wish to link up

    SHAH X

  7. Hmmm...
    I'm chopped liver now?

  8. touch many of the senses in this one hedge...nice play on your name...are you often found in the dark...maybe cause its too hot outside in the light...smiles. i think the second stanza is my fav....

  9. The little I know of ghazals is enhanced by yours. I think of them as worshipful prayers to the beloved. Wine and wings here carry me away on the lilt of your light.

  10. You've chosen the most suitable pic for this one HW. Beautiful.... love every single line, esp. "a filling as sweet as song in the dark."

    You are so good... i'd like to be a poet and write half as well as you do some day.


  11. Loved every couplet in this poem! As usual brilliant work!


  12. I also loved every couplet! And lovely choice of image! Wonderful!

  13. Hi Hedge

    I love this poem.
    The desciption of this dark man walking and his relationship to you (or narrator) is a fantastic
    piece of mystical writing.
    Every word and grouping provoking strong images and ideas with deep feeling.
    Smart Poetic dynamics explore the realm beneath the surfice.
    Lifting the shroud a little to take a peak.
    Looks like you have a good handle on the form.

    cheers Hedge


  14. "blue dark" - that most beautiful shade of night. Interesting form. Not familiar with it, but I loved yours, hedgewitch.

  15. Many thanks all--this one took up many more hours getting it into form from free verse than most, but it was still an enjoyable bout of word wrestling. (I'm awaiting John to tell me how successful or unsuccessful it all turned out.)

    @Shah: I'll take a look, thanks.

    @brian: you're so right, bro--the dark is the only time I come out lately.

    @G-man you are not chopped liver. But this one wouldn't fit in 55 and it was all I had last night.

    @Ruth: I liked the idea of this form, though I'm only moderately tuned into Sufism and Rumi, I do have an appreciation for mid-eastern poetry and it's nice to see a form like this take us a few steps into another culture to find out some things are universal. Thanks for reading.

    @B: Yes, the whole idea of this form I gather is to sing about the unattainable love that yet is found in that inner garden, human or Divine,and never in the next honky tonk--reminding me a bit of courtly love traditions, with a love object mystical, untouchable with hands, and a fluttering favor of symbol, not flesh. What good is a poet with no one to write love poems to? It's an oxymoron of the soul. And you've done an interesting bit of telepathy as well--there were indeed shoes in the first couplet of the poem ("He wears new shoes on old feet in the dark " was the original second line.) Don't know how you did that, but now you're scarin me. ;-)

  16. A favorite painting, a favorite song, and now a favorite poem. I can find no fault here, (pro that I am!) just a wonderful blanket of beautiful words, smooth as silk and dark like blue.

  17. Thanks Natasha. You're pro enough for me.

    Thanks Arron. I'll be off to make the rounds soon. I know you have one up and I'm curious to see it.

    Talon, so glad you liked.

  18. That last couplet is perfect! Love the way you worked in the self-reference.

  19. This is just exquisite, with an atmosphere of mystery about it. I love the reference "new skins for old souls," and lucky you, your name is a poem in itself.

  20. Oh,oh, oh, oh, oh!

    I love this, Joy. This is so..sensual...dark....mysterious, but so damn real,too. You really took wings here.

    Love Ghazals....but this is so modern. I only have come to know this form of poetry through the Persians and they were ancient...but this is so evocative of life/love right now. have stretched the envelop here!

    This is Joyful! (pun intended)

    Lady Nyo

  21. I have saved you to last - like dessert. And as usual your plate and palette did not disappoint. Clearly the heat affected both of our writes, but you pierced the dark and all of its secrets both malign and beautiful. I like the exploratory quality of this form. I think there may be a bit more latitude than John wrote in his article from the ones I've read today. In modern versions I think one could use this to really delve the meanings of words and phrases as you did so successfully here.

    Thank you, Joy for writing and linking! Gay

  22. What I liked most about your Ghazal was the light touch you had with the repeating lines... similar to the more modern versions of the form, where a single word becomes the refrain. Beautiful couplets, each a poem on its own.

  23. dark... great concept to revolve around.. enjoyed this.. L3 just beautiful

  24. Hi, my feedback is based on these five factors starting from a traditional perspective but also looking at modern developments. I draw on Agha Shahid Ali's, chapter from An Exaltation of forms (Ed Finch and Varnes). This is a poem of his based on the traditional rules.

    1) Association
    One of the key factors of the form - traditional or modern is that the couplets need to be based as it were on variations on a theme. And stand alone as the order should not matter. This you have strongly done.

    2) Theme
    The first couplet usually sets out the theme of the poem. Here we have dreams/night which in the end is preferred to that of the day's long hot bright. So the yearning is not about another - where others mentioned the images are negative but perhaps about being able to stay in the blue dark, which feels like a metaphor for imagination/creative sources rather then have to always dwell in the “make a living world.” It may be as wide as the mark as possible but the emotion of the images create yearning whatever the 'meaning' of the words.

    3) Couplets
    Nice set of couplets without enjambment. Some enjambment occurs in the modern forms but as the exception in the poem rather than the norm. So having one is fine. You cleverly refer or hint at the narrator/writer in the last couplet/two lines.

    4) Rhyme and refrain
    In the classical tradition, the opening couplet would set the refrain and internal rhyme in the first and second line. Then in the rest of the couplets the refrain and internal rhyme would be on the second line. The refrain is as the classical tradition. You have no internal rhyme, which is fine

    5) Metre
    I can see a clear use of iambic

    In short, it had many classical features but also some modern adaption that allows the poem to be image rather them rhyme driven

  25. I always love the mystic quality of your poems, which seems especially well suited to the ghazal form. This poem evokes deep longing, a hunger that, paradoxically, becomes the object of its own longing ...? My favorite line:

    Pull your heart up from the spindle of dark.

    Thank you for your kind comment on my ghazal. It means a lot know know that my poetry resonates with those who don't necessarily share my religious convictions.


  26. You're very welcome David. I meant it most sincerely. Your voice transcends dogma. And thanks for your kindness in reading and delving into the voice in my own poetry.

    Thanks all who've stopped by--MZ, Victoria, Gay, Lady Nyo, glad you enjoyed it, and also that you left your thoughts and impressions.

    @John: Thanks for taking the time to go over this in so much detail. I was worried about that one enjambment, but there was no rewriting it without losing the rhythm and feel of the second line question. I'm glad it can fit in without disruption. Really enjoyed this session and this form, and your clear explications.

  27. I love this painting. I have been missing it, from every exhibit. I made it to Paris and they told me that it's on loan to another museum. Anyhow, I love your poem. New skins for old souls...just great!

  28. Take my face in two hands, light of my heart.... What more does a ghazal need than those words? Thank you for your lovely comment on my poem, it is a wonderful thing to be in company with, and read by, a poet such as yourself.

  29. "Feed me with hunger". How cool is that?

  30. I can see I'm going to have to dedicate more time to falling in love with your poetry about the inner paramour. Superb, strategic, far reaching, thought provoking, mellifluous, a farandole of wisdom, magnetic, and some words that need to be invented just for your dictionary!

  31. I have a copy of that painting in my master bedroom. Great use of the form and tones of dark. Great write. Great interpretation.

  32. @FB You have the personal experience also, n'est ce pas?

    @Anna; thanks for reading, and taking the time to come by and leave an intelligent and perspicacious comment. I'm very glad you liked the piece.

    Henry, Steve, always good to see you stop by, and thanks for the input.

  33. You handled this form so well I loved the tempo it carried. Your use of the refrain method stunning, truly lovely write ~ Rose

  34. in the dark... love the repeating word choice and the many variations of things that can occur in the dark, so to speak.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats