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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Writing a ghazal


No matter how you spell it, the ghazal (often pronounced ghuzzle) brings an interesting pattern of rhyme and repetition in its traditional form of poetry from seventh century Arabia.

Set in five to twelve couplets, the opening pair establishes a refrain that recurs throughout the poem. This echoing sound may come by repeating syllables or a phrase as shown in the poem below.

Besides the repetition of the phrase, "new moon rising,” each couplet contains either a slant rhyme or a true rhyme with sounds, such as ear/ ir/ eer/ ier, about mid-way in the line. The first couplet establishes a refrain of repeated word(s) and rhymes in both lines, then places them in the second line for the remainder of the poem.

Often, a ghazal hinges on thoughts that come in free association of a repeated word or phrase. Otherwise, little, if any, connection of thought exists from one phrase to the next.

Finally, the last couplet ties the poet's name into the refrain as in the example shown where the words, Mary, hare, well, sailor sign my "autograph" to the poem.

Reflecting On The Moon

I could not hear the new moon, rising –
white fist of fear, the new moon rising.

Oh, come! Let's make a man of snow.
Its face will appear like a new moon rising.

On the Chesapeake Bay, hound dogs bay
any time of year at the new moon rising.

place-thing-mir-or the new moon rising.

The Law carves a heart of pumpkin stone.
Jack-O-Lanterns jeer at the new moon rising.

The Witch of Endor has no broom
nor king to steer the new moon rising.

Hark! Whose star is this, upon
a midnight clear and new moon rising?

Unclean! Unclean! Life touches death
beside the bier – anew! Moon rising....

Welcome wagon, sailor, hare. By
Mary's well draw near the new moon rising.

by Mary Harwell Sayler from the e-book Christian Poet' Guide to Writing Poetry based on the poetry correspondence course Mary wrote and used for years with other poets and poetry students


Christian Poet's Guide to Writing Poetry, e-book on Kindle