Margo Roby,, in her Tuesday Tryouts challenged her readers to write a Ghazal. I had never heard of a Ghazal, so a little research was in order.

The Ghazal seems to be a poem lacking a consensus in its construction. The first five hits of a Google search gave me the following information. It is a poem composed of 4 to 10 / over 5 / 5 to 10 / 5 to 15 / normally around 7 couplets.

The first couplet’s lines end with a rhyming: word / refrain / refrain with a rhyming word in front of it.

The second line of each additional couplet: ends with a word rhyming with first couplet’s ending / ends with a rhyming word in front of the refrain / has one or more rhymes or partial rhymes before the refrain.

Each couplet is poetic statement, complete within itself, not carried over to the next couplet. A common theme: is used / is frowned upon for each couplet.

A Ghazal is written: in meter / with no regard for meter but using the same number of syllables / with no regard for meter or syllable count but of equal line length.

A Ghazal is a poetic expression: of both love and separation / of drinking wine / of illicit, unobtainable love / in a spiritual context with the beloved being God / invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions / mysticism.

The final couplet: always / sometimes / may include the poet’s name / pen name.

None of the above apply when a Ghazal is written in English.

by Mike Patrick

I seek knowledge from my friends; the search begins.
It starts with you and sees no end; the search begins.

Will education take one far, and is the workforce fair?
I want security for all my kin and so the search begins.

Decisions made without research are filled with doubt.
Is so much of life decided on a whim, the search begins?

Elusive happiness is sought, but seldom found?
Perhaps it’s something I might win, the search begins.

Does a heart when stolen break, in one lifetime heal?
Or might it only partially mend, the search begins.

Are rules for man best found within the Bible, Talmud or Qur’an?
God’s law covers more than sins, and so the search begins.

It’s time for Mike to get in gear, the future now is drawing near.
No longer slipping by on laughs and silly grins, the search begins.

This entry was posted in Ghazal, Mixed Meter, Poetry, Un-rhyming, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to THE SEARCH BEGINS

  1. siggiofmaine says:

    Enjoyed reading this, including the definitions, am still confused…are you ?☺
    Probably not !
    ☮ ♥ Siggi in Downeast Maine

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Oh yeah. I’m confused. I should just accept the final line of my Google search. None of it applies if written in English. When I looked at the examples from English writers, they rarely used the any accepted, normal Ghazal conventions. Many of them were simply un-rhymed couplets. The true Ghazals don’t translate well. Only when one finds a urdu speaking author who writes in English does something close to all those Googled sites appear.

      I’m just now reading anjum wasim dar’s comments on Margo’s site. It’s obvious she knows what she’s talking about. My attempt was a shot in the right direction, but missed the target.

      • Respected Mike Patrick, I fully agree with your research based views’ ”none of it applies if written in English”-A Ghazal in English Language? firstly is a concept almost impossible to accept -of Persian and Arabic origin , and developed in Urdu ‘by outstanding talented poets as Amir Khusraw , Hafiz Shirazi, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
        Mir Dard, Dagh and later by Sir Allama Mohammed Iqbal , Munir Niazi ,Ahmed Faraz and Faiz Sahib.The Ghazal’ stands on a high pedestal -I fully respect, love and enjoy the English language and being an Urdu speaking person I write in both Urdu and English and though like your goodself have written some lines, ‘so called Ghazal’ but I believe , it would not do justice to this great form of expression.
        You have stated your views well.The lines about ‘Laws sins and the Holy Books’ are highly commendable, and the overall Idea of The Search is excellent’.

        • Mike Patrick says:

          Thank you Anjum. I have enjoyed my Ghazeal learning experience. I went back and read some Ghazeals from true masters of the form. Unfortunately, most of them were written in Urdu and one cannot tell how well they survived translation. I’m sure things like meter or syllable count were scrambled, and while the refrain gives insight into the depth and direction of the poem, the rhymes suffered.

          It appears to be drawn from the psyche of of generations, perhaps a little like the Japanese Haiku. Without that few thousand years of cultural experience to draw on, we from the Unites States cannot understand or truly appreciate the Ghazeal’s heart.

          • Dear Mr Patrick, Yes indeed , even for me a student of Urdu for many years understanding the true form of Ghazal did not come easily,Urdu language has words borrowed from Arabic Persian Sanskrit Hindi and now English. I learnt the basic meter of Urdu poetry from my Grandfather Mohammed Hassan a prominent educationist of Kashmir and later in service at the King George Royal Military College of Jhelum Pakistan. In Arabic it has variations as
            1.Variation – 11 syllables in a line
            2.Variation – 15 ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
            one line from Allama Iqbal’s poetry for Children (15 syllables)in what we call Roman Urdu script.
            The Poem is The Spider and The Fly
            ik din kissi makhi se ye kehne laga makrra (one day a spider thus started talking to the fly)
            Studying and enjoying the Ghazal can go on and on and in the words of Wallace Stevens that a poem” Must Be Abstract,” It Must Change’ It Must Give Pleasure’ poetry must always be “a thing final in itself and, therefore, good’. Poetry of all kinds is good.
            Please visit my Poetry Blog whenever possible


  2. Mike, I am dreading this exercise. You have done a fine job.


  3. Mike, I tried the ghazal before as well, with so-so results, but Poets for Living Waters used it, so I guess it wasn’t that bad. The first time we try any form, it doesn’t always feel right, but if your soul is in it, folks will get it. Your point, about sort of naval-gazing, then branching out into holy texts, and finally getting off your keester and seeing – and seeking – for yourself? Excellent work.

    I care not what form is used. I only care about how it hits me. And you shot a little arrow through my heart with your call to yourself… the best kind of call to action! Amy

  4. margo roby says:

    Do you know, I am proud of you. You should be too. I love the way you used the semi-colons — correct, by the way. You can now say you have written a ghazal and no head hanging, my friend. The best news: you never have to write another one. But you can.

  5. Something occurs to me on reading your ghazal: no matter the mental gymnastics required by a prompt or a form, you ALWAYS come up with a POEM – and I mean a REAL poem,. You never just go through the motions, or pay lip service to the prompt. Never mind the form, this reads beautifully, rhythmically, and each couplet is a complete thought. Your initial research is a gem of a piece of writing, showing that anything goes – the only thing missing from your poem is the element of internal rhyme and half rhyme, and I think if you had added that, it would probably have spoiled it.
    Did you read my ghazal? Having read yours, I’m ashamed of myself!

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Ashamed of yourself? You, who has successfully written forms that cause me to run out of the room screaming? It’s only through your example that I finally took the first step into new forms.

  6. I’m the same as sharp little pencil, my prose has never had any rules. My one rule is, there are no rules! lol

  7. ladynimue says:

    totally stunning and commendable !! I am giving this a skip 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s