The 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.



Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians. The form has roots in seventh-century Arabia, and gained prominence in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century thanks to such Persian poets as Rumi and Hafiz. In the eighteenth-century, the ghazal was used by poets writing in Urdu, a mix of the medieval languages of Northern India, including Persian. Among these poets, Ghalib is the recognized master.



Childhood dreams live in my memories of youth.
And love abides in the memories of youth.

Imaginations unbridled; the desires of hearts and minds
find a dwelling in the memories of youth.

Amidst the number of a family, large and vibrant,
a loving mother and father tyrant in the memories of youth.

All in perspective of a young child, point of view lower
and slower to process the responsibilities in the memories of youth.

But love did abide in the memories of days long gone,
parents long gone, but alive in the memories of youth.

Lessons were a way of life; the learning curve was in force
in the course of the memories of youth.

Success came in the learnings of life, rife with knowledge
and the fuel to power the memories of youth.

I learned at my father’s knee; me and a pouch full of nails,
the trials of an apprentice in the memories of youth.

Surrounded by brothers and sisters; a rambunctious bunch
of misses and misters in the memories of youth.

Surrounded still in the decline of numbers,
victims all in the memories of youth.

Hearts full and overflowing with the thoughts so inspired
never to be retired in the memories of youth.

The tragic part of Walt going back to the place where I was raised,
is finding myself as one of my own memories of youth.

But, they keep me grounded; they strengthen my resolve
with more of life’s mysteries to solve through the memories of youth.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik




A world of wonder defines your eyes;
ennui is sundered by your eyes.

Should mountains fall with tomorrow’s sun,
they all will rise to please your eyes;

should oceans fail their daily tides,
each one would resume and hail your eyes;

if Earth should lose the grace of green,
replacement resides in the gaze of your eyes;

if a star should refuse to share its light,
it will bow before the glare of your eyes,

and when love has forgotten its reason to be,
it need only believe the tears in your eyes.

And I? I hope someday to reprise
the gay, zestful way you smile with your eyes.

(C) William Preston – 2014

74 thoughts on “INFORM POETS – GHAZAL


    The wise insist that love has wings that fly
    and she who disagrees must live the lie.

    In sleep the demons chase the dreamer down.
    A voice within says, “I must live!” The lie

    is dreams are real from which the dreamer wakes,
    while in the real world she must live the lie.

    Escape is not an option: face the facts!
    Good sense, a dull flicker, must live. The lie

    that love will conquer wounds the bravest heart.
    When love flies away she must live the lie

    as do the unrequited, unless time
    can teach the woman she must live. The lie

    like an old blanket can be thrown away.
    Jane says, “It’s not I who must live the lie!”


  2. “Cause You’ve Got Personality”

    We are not triune, not body, spirit, and soul,
    but dual, material – immaterial, body ,soul

    The material, earth made, tangible, finite.
    Immaterial, breath of God, eternal soul

    though some believe we are no more
    than brain waves and currents that make a soul

    and sometimes one has to wonder about that self
    who disappears in trauma, misplaced in senility –lost soul.

    Where did you go? I looked in vain to find you,
    looked deep into eyes of blue for you, no fire, no soul.

    I touched a warm hand, traced the curve of your jaw
    and cried for my loss and for the man who’d lost his soul.

    What is the soul? Where does it go? How can one explain
    to a child, spouse, parent a loved one’s body bereft of soul?

    Christianity promises one day we will know each other
    as we were once known – not just a familiar body but a living soul.


    The fingers of the music in the songs the DJ played
    dug into the arms of her heart. Those songs the DJ played

    tore open old wounds, exposing her pain and her passion.
    More than a melody was there in songs the DJ played.

    Buried within those compositions were truths she denied.
    Brokenness would not stay hidden from songs the DJ played.

    She found no escape from sorrow that followed her footsteps.
    Her sadness only grew stronger through songs the DJ played.

    Love given freely then stolen away haunted her soul.
    Unmasked tears flowed in tempo with the songs the DJ played.

    “Turn the radio off, Susan. There’s nothing to be gained
    by holding onto bitterness by songs the DJ played.”

    Reason can’t fight the torment of an unrelenting sound.
    She only hears her bleeding heart in songs the DJ played.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    • Wow. For me, this has the beat of a dirge. “Reason can’t fight the torment of an unrelenting sound” is a keeper of a line that is a poem unto itself, in my view; it conveys the idea that one might as well listen to the DJ because one hears the song anyway. Wonderful.

    • A powerful piece about the power of music, especially the last couplet–music reaches past rational thought and grabs my emotions

    • Sometimes, a song from the past hits me with an overwhelming wave of emotion that stuns me and takes me back to a moment… not an altogether good thing. Your poem is so well done.

  4. I’m not feeling up to writing a new ghazal just yet…we’ll see how the next couple days go. In the meantime, here is my first and only attempt at the form…from three years ago.


    I’ve come to the end of my day, feeling quite empty.
    I look for what can fill me, discovering my night’s empty.

    The longing for love is strong, like an addiction,
    Like an addiction to what once swirled in this bottle, right empty.

    Early on in this search, I looked for who could fill me.
    My search for the best quality red, rose’ or white: empty.

    And then my standards lessened, as desperation set in.
    I consumed it all, whatever I might empty.

    Now alone, I jiggle the door to that last locked cabinet.
    I catch my reflection in the glass, Paula, what a sad sight: empty.

  5. I confess I don’t quite understand the form. I love your poems, and as always, look to them for guidance in how to work my own offering.

    • For what it’s worth, I found this a difficult form but a delicious challenge. The trick, for me anyway, was to try to construct a series of two-liners, each of which could stand on its own as a poem and all linked by a common word or phrase at the end of each stanza (or couplet). I don’t think I succeeded in meeting both requirements, but those are what I used as lodestones. I think Walt and Marie both emphasized that this is a forum for trying things; the efforts are the rewards. That’s how I approach new forms, anyhow.

      • Exactly Bill. The form is just an enticement. You “pick up pen” and write a poem. It’s a draft. A proof to be perfected later.You’ll hear of these forms and you’ll have at least given them a shot. I submitted my Ghazal at another forum and had the moderator for the prompt tell me close, but not cigar on it being a true ghazal.That it lacked rhyme. When have you known my work to lack rhyme? End rhyme, internal rhyme (my forte), near rhyme… it’s there. We smile and carry on knowing we’ve written “a poem”. It still expresses. Tremendous work all! W.

  6. And here it is. Inspired by a fellow resident who happens to be named “Truelove,” and laughter from the Princess Bride’s wedding, here is a perhaps rather obvious offering:


    The heart of any marriage is true love
    But divorce attests the lie of true love.

    A single dry rose is all that remains
    When summer heat drains her dreams of true love.

    Wedding rings symbolize promises made
    Lest any threat trade the fake for true love.

    If a man search for meaning all his days,
    His quest is sure to fail short of true love.

    Darlene my darling, God’s lullaby,
    Calls me the apple of His eye, true love.

    Darlene Franklin ©2014

  7. Pingback: Fanning The Flames | Words With Sooze

  8. Tonight

    Enchanting skies, beaming moon, that’s full
    Its a magical night, when the moon is full

    Rustling leaves are glowing purple laces
    In a sparkling kite, when the moon is full

    Unexpected shadows are showing their faces
    In unfolding light, when the moon is full

    Songs of love are filling empty spaces
    In this promising light, when the moon is full

    A sauntering breeze is taking me places
    In a whispering white, when the moon is full

    My broken heart is mending in places
    In this powerful night, when the moon is full—

  9. “Her son. Her son.”

    She waits like a quiet snow captured in the moonlight.
    Her sable curls haloed in the treble song of moonlight.

    Life loves somber prose—a thorn prick to probe our hearts,
    burrowing scarlet roses inside the song of moonlight.

    Rest, sweet dreamer. A wanderer grieves for love’s breath,
    Savoring each note of the redeemer’s song of moonlight.

    Bless the poet. Bless the winter of a hero’s flight in the night.
    Verse after verse caress his flight in the song of moonlight.

    Sing, sweet dreamer, the soft prayer of a warrior’s mother.
    From the womb comes a cry sweeter than the song of moonlight.

    Long in the land of his enemy is a fountain of cold memories.
    I will fold your hands in mine and sing his song of moonlight.

  10. In The Glow

    His stomach sank, he felt so low
    on this beach where their love once glowed.

    She was wrenched from him, he was shown
    death’s quick grip, where their love once glowed.

    On the sand, he drew with his toe
    a broken heart, where love once glowed.

    Waves rolled in as he felt his woe
    tug at him, here, where love once glowed.

    He recalled her strength, knew he’d go
    on with life, lucky, love once glowed.

  11. One of my favorite books is The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen Donaldson. I’ll let the rest speak for itself.


    Memories fade, unless she glides through dreams
    A wisp of smoke, no warmer than a dream.

    Grief sets its own timetable, yesteryear
    Joins with today in the sphere of my dreams.

    A stranger’s profile, a grandchild’s smile, both
    Direct me through the aisles that store my dreams.

    A meal with lemon pie and crisp hash browns
    Sits me down at the table of my dreams

    In heaven, to dance and play, forever
    Alive, never glum, a realized dream.

    The sight, the sound, the smell of you only
    Tease me with the spree that awaits, no dream.

    Dearest Jolene, both too close and too far
    At the bar with the mirror of my dreams.

    Darlene Franklin ©2014

  12. The Fickleness of Humans (or The Love/Hate Relationship Between Humans and Mother Nature)

    Now she brings us wind and rain but before this watered soup,
    she brought us small crystals for delight, not this watered soup.

    Those flakes they piled and amassed, covering the sleeping,
    what a chore to shovel this mass before this watered soup.

    Then came the bitter, polar wind, shutting down everything –
    we dreamed of spring as we wore layers, not this watered soup.

    Slowly the snow and cold retreated, we turned our eyes south,
    the birds came north, four at a time within this watered soup.

    Now summer knocks at our door but the heavens cry rivers,
    we look for drier shores as we curse this, this watered soup.

    • “Watered soup” is, I presume, the slush and mud detriti from winter, augmented, apparently, by an overdose of rain. This does not sound like Arizona. Love the phrase; I’m not going to forget it. Love this poem too.

      • Hi William, actually after our long, snowy and cold winter, we have had an amazingly wet spring. It seems like it rains every few days. So it is actually a very lush, green soup. 🙂 Thanks for the comments, I’m glad you enjoyed my ghazal. 🙂

  13. Amazing results from this form prompt. I have enjoyed seeing them appear. It was challenging to me but I hope with your examples Walt and William, and those from the rest of you, I have come close. Sorry I have been sparse on comments but it has been a busy week in other venues.
    Cucumber Delight

    Bee song fills soft yellow funneled blooms, the vines
    are bathed in whispers. Hear! Joy rings among the vines.

    Dusty kisses, gold caresses yearned,
    are now returned with love along the vines.

    Gently, green leaves waver in the wind,
    gesturng in pleasure through the vines.

    Swaying, swaying, there behind the bloom,
    newborn fruit drinks deeply from the vines.

    I shall taste crisp love refreshed,
    given me by bee, bloom, and the vines.

    I the Gardener, tender of romance,
    delight in daily harvests from the vines.

    © 2014, Damon Dean

    • I never would’ve thought of the lowly (literally) cucumber plants as being subjects of a poem, especially one as lovely as this, but that’s what a good poet does: lifts the ordinary to the sublime. This even extends to the eating (crisp love refreshed), f’goshsakes. Marvellous.

    • I’m afraid I’ve taken the sublime and reduced it to banality! I hesitate even to post it, but haven’t the oomph to start again from scratch!


      My mind was filled with useless craving
      for his love, my reason for living

      Yearning for the unattainable
      love my hero wasn’t giving.

      How to survive the vacuum
      unfulfilled yet still driven

      to pursue the impossible dream,
      my futile effort unremitting?

      Would he, could he
      ever alter his decision

      to leave me solo
      through life unwilling

      to live always alone
      with no-one giving

      whatever I thought worth having –
      love that made my life worth living.

      • I don’t think this is banal. The near-rhymes are intriguing, in my view, and the pacing feels like a long inhale and a concluding sigh. I’m captivated by this work. Thanks for posting.

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