Last week with my workshop group, we looked at the ghazal. I have to say it was not a form that I had ever paid much attention to, but after reading widely, I have a whole new appreciation of the form. As part of the session, I gave the group the opening sher (couplet) and had them respond to this writing their own sher; the result was breathtakingly good, so I thought I would try it here and see how it works.
Firstly, a few words about the ghazal for those new to the form…
A ghazal is composed of five or more couplets.
The second line of each couplet (or sher) in a ghazal usually ends with the repetition of a refrain of one or a few words, known as a radif. In the first couplet both lines end in the refrain so that the ghazal’s rhyme scheme is AA BA CA etc.
All the couplets, and each line of each couplet, must share a similar meter.
Every sher should be an independent poem in itself, however, the shers may share the same theme or even display continuity of thought.
The final sher (or maqta) includes the poet’s takhallus (pen name). Traditionally, this is how the poet attempted to secure credit for his or her work.
You can read more about ghazals here.
So with these notes to guide us, here’s the (two) opening sher of The Ghazal of Another Lost Shark. Once I have a number of responses I will put the poem together, write a final sher and repost. Look forward to reading your pearls of thought.
The Ghazal of Another Lost Shark
Tonight as rain hisses on stones, you come to me.
The breeze that lifts the curtain calls your name to me.
A rooster’s yellow beak opens the dawn, taking with it
my dreams, as the heat of morning breaks in me.