Poetry on a Sunday Afternoon

Now that the term is over, I have begun working on my poetry manuscript for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop in July.  I want to do my best to bring brand new poems to the table, so I have been working very hard to generate solid ideas to polish over the next month.  Today, I sat on my porch swing while I wrote an open form poem, and then I played around with two tiny Ghazals mainly to keep my pen moving.

The Hanging Tree

Tethered ropes around my arms,
my skin is chafed and raw
as knots pull taught.
Rings of life burn white with your rage
I snatch the souls that wander by
lest they be ensnared by Sol’s embrace,
ever lost to ash.
I carry them against my bosom.
I love them,
as deeply as the raccoons burrowed in my nethers,
as surely as the owlets clutched betwixt my fingers.
Locust hum Sorrow Song elegies
as you adorn me with the souls of your iniquity,
lilting wind chimes in the sweetest breath of Zephyrus –
earrings that jingle on a lonely mistress,
heavy reminders of her lover’s sin
and her own helpless neutrality.

The Ghazals
For those of you who don’t remember what a Ghazal is: It’s a form of Persian poetry that takes its name from the Arabic word meaning “the talk of boys and girls,” and is known to be used for flirtation or sweet talk. Loss and love are the most common topics for this style. It is composed of 5-15 couplets, with no enjambment.  Each couplet should be able to also stand on its own.  The interesting thing about the Ghazal is that the same word is repeated at the end of the first couplet, and throughout the poem in the second line of each couplet. Poets try to include their last names in the last couplet, as a “signature stanza” but I never do that because my last name is pretty much the least poetic or appealing word on the planet.

Ghazal: A Lonely Garden

Tender, loving hands once tilled the soil of this garden.
Now, no one stops to admire the flowers that bloom in the garden.

Dogwood wonders if the world has always been so silent,
cannot recall the laughter of children wandering paths long lost to the garden.

No one bothers to pluck succulent berries from thorny bushes,
or dance with butterflies in the heart of the garden.

Daffodils weep, choked and chased by weeds that affectionate hands once held at bay.
Robins sing of the anarchy that plagues the lonely garden.

Melancholy whispers seep into stone walls like raindrops on a soft Spring day
yet still no hands plunge into the eager ground of this secret, lonely garden.

When a timid little girl asks for a bit of earth,
roses bloom with joy, for there will finally be love again in the garden.

A Widow’s Ghazal

Years ago, he asked me what it would take to make me blush.
Yet how could I admit that it took only his smile – radiant, confident, sly – to make me blush?

How I had yearned for him to hold me, to breathe deeply
the perfume of carnations in my cheeks, to fill his lungs with luscious blush.

Honeyed words dripped from sticky chins
as we searched the horizon for burgundy remnants of Sol’s fading blush.

We walked hand in hand through decades of laughter, love, and pain,
his most prized possession a hand-drawn map of the infinite ways he could make me blush.

Ashen and gaunt in his hospital gown, he reached for me,
“Let me melt Death’s icy fingers in the inferno of your blush.”

He is gone now, and though there may be no color left in the world
I know I must find a way, for the sake my lost explorer, to blush.

I think I still like the Ghazal about the butterflies, that I wrote in Dr. Cassel’s poetry workshop, the best.  I think my imagery was stronger in that one than these two.  However, I do feel that the Widow’s Ghazal is heading in the right direction, I just need to add more to it. If I do include any Ghazal in my manuscript, I would only put one of them in, and unless the internet tells me one of these two are somehow significantly better than the one I shared in my post about my first poetry workshop, it will likely be the Ghazal about the butterflies that gets added.

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