Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ghazal Of Saving

Ghazal Of Saving

In my dream I know that I can save
everyone, anything brave.

The heartburst stag, worlds between his horns,
 breathes again inside this spell-sung cave.

The locust green as bottleglass
fallen to a grave of ants still sings--

Fly up all wounded things,
into my hand the nave.

I can save you---I do save;
with this ink dropped sapphire wave

I  save your smile and so bewitch
death's slave and love you living--

Pulled spotless from the bloody ditch,
each cracked bird with bells of glass to ring.

Nothing dies here that can still be loved.
Dreamed joy rings each finger of the witch.

August 2020 


posted for



Note: This is my attempt at a ghazal: " Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions,...[t]he ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet's signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet's own name or a derivation of its meaning." Obviously I have not completely followed these guidelines, especially relating to rhyme, but did include my name in various forms in the final couplet.

Images: Photo © Eugene Kozhevnikov Fair Use
Photo, artist unknown  Fair Use


  1. Oh Joy this is amazing. A ghazal is such a hard form! I love the magic and bravery this holds. I do feel that in dreams death dies and living wins, when we hold those we have lost once again. "Nothing dies here that can still be loved" what a glorious line!

  2. So beautiful the "heartburst stag....breath(ing) again inside this spell-sung cave." I adore "Fly up all wounded things" - so much we want to save. I love the idea that we do so with our poems - "this ink dropped sapphire wave." A gorgeous poem, Joy.

  3. Ha, I now see your worlds between his horns and my poem with the world we have lost between his antlers - we saw the same thing in the image.

  4. This is fantastic. I applaud your taking up the challenge of this interesting form I was not familiar with at all, until now. I won't quote your entire own poem back at you, but the birds with glass bells was especially marvelous. Love love love this, Joy.

  5. This is a resurrection poem for me, affirming where so much has been flattened, lifeless, inert. Where does it come from? The dream, of course, bewitched and antlered in verse "which breathes again in this spell-sung cave." Cauled though in this wakening magic: "Nothing dies here which can still be loved." Even as it shatters. Some real tears of joy here, and something to sweeten all of us from our bitter rages. Great stuff. Amen and ahem. - Brendan

  6. "The heartburst stag" -- oooh!! Love that. And save what we can with our words. Shakespearian in that our poems and words may live forever.

  7. Oh, this is terrifying and wonderful at the same time. The image of the witch and everything that she offers that faint refuge of her hand as memorial...just amazing.

  8. "Dreamed joy rings each finger of the witch." Love that line. You have written beautifully to the form with such intriguing visuals. Sigh, cue jealousy.

  9. rather than quote back each word... which would not do you justice - I'll just note that as I read this at 11:52 pm local, eating a refrigerated orange to quench my thirst - juicy, cold, sweet - the lines from this pen are yet more refreshing and give more sustenance. and, I think your version of the ghazal breathes new life, makes the form stronger (for shouldn't form be there just as a lattice, rather than a prison?) ~

    1. Thanks, M. Your words mean a lot to me. I tend to agree on form, and this is a very alien one to the English language..I was inspired to play loose with it by Lorca, who wrote some brilliant nes using almost not real form at all except the couplets and the love, longing, metaphysical, melancholia, etc.

  10. I really like this form, I've tried it a few times with mixed results but I like what you have done here...incorporating your considerable gift for imagery into a rhyming poem which is a hard thing to do....and I like the notion of "saving", of hope, well done as always...JIM


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