I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

2 February 2018

A Ghazal On Whether the Beloved Is Aloof Or Touchy-Feely

A ghazal, we are told, should be melancholy
with craving the Beloved. Heavens, what folly!

Who, then, is this elusive Beloved? Golly –
it seems that the longed-for one is the most holy.

Yes, God. And who's that? A Santa, roly-poly?
Or a Jehovah, much less cuddly and jolly?

People seem to see God as masculine wholly,
whether that figure is Almighty or lowly.

But let us consider this carefully and slowly.
Perhaps as Great Mother we perceive Her truly.

Then, do we crave hugs She might give to a dolly?
Do we hunger for the sweetness of a lolly?

I think She must be rather more than that, surely!
Nor would She separate Herself from us coolly.

OK, I'll tell you the truth of it. (Or shall I?
Who of us knows the truth of anything fully?)

Nevertheless, I can make a sortie or sally.
Know this: I was once with Hafiz. I was really.

A seer told me this – and he was not merely
a charlatan, I promise. So you must rally.

You must set your will to accept I see clearly.
Poor Hafiz. In that life he was off his trolley!

He got it wrong about God. Well, it was early
in our understanding. Now we guess more nearly.

It is true we've always known God loves us dearly.
Therefore She will never depart from you, silly!

She is not trivial or fickle or frilly.
Neither is the path to Her side steeply hilly.

The one who tells you this is speaking truthfully 
from deep Remembrance ... if not strictly ghazaly.


Written for dVerse "Meeting the Bar – The Ghazal".
I added a further constraint, rhyming every line rather than just every couplet. On the other hand, I ignored the refrain. However it's more un-ghazaly in mood than form. 

[Fellow-Aussies, please applaud me for having resisted working in "Up there, Cazaly!"]


After reading all the beautiful poems others have written to this prompt, I feel a bit ashamed. Perhaps I'll try a serious one too in the near future. (Though actually this one does have a serious message underneath the play.)


16 comments:

  1. It is a fabulous piece Rosemaary, humorous and ever so slighty naughty....and like Jane D,you have pulled a version of the form with much to rhyme, that I was unfamiliar with. Bravo.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you also got my "Rosemary is for remembrance" allusion, as a way of sneaking my name into the last line (like your "scribbler").

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  2. Wonderfully done. I enjoyed the clever rhyming and echo the preference for a Great Mother instead of a patriarch. Love the Hafiz history.

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    1. Hey, my remarks on Hafiz should be treated as highly suspect, you know! (Except that a seer did once tell me I had been one of the group of lesser-known poets around him.)

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  3. Ah, you had fun here...there is much to be said about the form and you took it a long way here.

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  4. Haha! A truely questing mind. The last couplet is my favorite.

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  5. Oh I love this... the smile works so well and ghazaly is a great new word.

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  6. What fun! And I'm now wholly curious about, "Up there, Cazaly!"

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    1. In Aussie Rules football, players jump high to get ("mark") the ball. A famous player of a bygone era was called Cazaly (surname). He was particularly famous for his marks, and that is what the crowd always used to yell to him during play. So the legend goes; it was before my time, but the phrase has passed into our vernacular.

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    2. Known for his prodigious leap, Roy Cazaly (1893-1963) formed a famous ruck combination with South Melbourne teammates Fred "Skeeter" Fleiter and Mark "Napper" Tandy. It was ruck rover Fleiter who was the first to call "Up there, Cazaly!" when the ruckman flew for the ball. The catchcry was soon adopted by South Melbourne supporters and eventually entered the Australian lexicon as a common phrase of encouragement. (from Wikipedia - you can't accuse me of knowing anything about any form of football)

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    3. Oh, many thanks for supplying all this detail! And it is so much part of the Aussie lexicon that even people like you and me, who pay little or no attention to sport, know what it means and where it came from.

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  7. Much enjoyed ... thank you Rosemary :)

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  8. I suppose She could be feminine. Who knows? As long as one gets a nice ghazaly feeling.

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  9. brilliant! and the humour was so natural!

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  10. This is adorable. I'm so glad you wrote it in this way (especially the dolly section).

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  11. This was so sweet and humorous debating faith. I like the way you think!

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