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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.

Ghazal

Ghazal

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

Recordings

Mimi Khalvati Reading from her Poems

1Shanklin Chine

2Rubaiyat

3Vine-Leaves

4Earls Court

5Coma

6Entries on Light (1-6)

7The Chine

8Nostalgia

9Writing Letters

10Eden

11Writing Home

12Villanelle

13The Piano

14Babies

15Life in Art

16Snails

17The Love Barn

18Just to Say

19Song

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

21Come Close

22Blinks

23Overblown Roses

24On Lines from Fahmida Riaz and Foroogh Farrokhzad

25Signal

26Ghazal

27Ghazal: Hold Me

28Ghazal: The Servant

29Ghazal: My Son

30Ghazal: The Children

31Blessing

Books by Mimi Khalvati