Poem introduction

Ghazals are an old Persian form, and they're written in self-contained couplets with a monorhyme, sometimes one- (or two- or three-) word repeated phrase, like a refrain, and the last couplet is a signature couplet, in which the writer has to refer to themselves by name, or pseudonym, or by using some kind of wordplay on their name.



If I am the grass and you the breeze, blow through me.
If I am the rose and you the bird, then woo me.

If you are the rhyme and I the refrain, don't hang
on my lips, come and I'll come too when you cue me.

If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove
when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me.

If mine is the venomous tongue, the serpent's tail,
charmer, use your charm, weave a spell and subdue me.

If I am the laurel leaf in your crown, you are
the arms around my bark, arms that never knew me.

Oh would that I were bark! So old and still in leaf
And you, dropping in my shade, dew to bedew me!

What shape should I take to marry your own, have you
- hawk to my shadow, moth to my flame - pursue me?

If I rise in the east as you die in the west,
die for my sake, my love, every night renew me.

If, when it ends. we are just good friends, be my Friend,
muse, lover and guide, Shamsuddin to my Rumi.

Be heaven and earth to me and I'll be twice the me
I am, if only half the world you are to me.

copyright © Mimi Khalvati 2006, used by permission of the author


Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Khalvati Reading from her Poems

1Shanklin Chine



4Earls Court


6Entries on Light (1-6)

7The Chine


9Writing Letters


11Writing Home


13The Piano


15Life in Art


17The Love Barn

18Just to Say


20Don't Ask Me, Love, For That First Love

21Come Close


23Overblown Roses

24On Lines from Fahmida Riaz and Foroogh Farrokhzad



27Ghazal: Hold Me

28Ghazal: The Servant

29Ghazal: My Son

30Ghazal: The Children


Books by Mimi Khalvati