A ghazal is an Arabic/Persian/Urdu poetic form that has become popular among poets writing in English. In its English version, the ghazal is made up of at least five stanzas of two-line verses with the same meter and with a rhyme scheme of aa ba ca da ea.... Some works that deviate from this traditional pattern are called "bastard" ghazals.
The traditional Arabic ghazal is usually about love that is unattainable or unrequited, though contemporary writers have used the form to deal with social/political issues (Marilyn Hacker's "Ghazal: The Dark Times" is an example). You may also find other modern ghazals in the Poetry Foundation website. Here's an example of a ghazal, one that is about the writing of ghazals:
Ghazal on Ghazals
For couplets the ghazal is prime; at the end
Of each one’s a refrain like a chime: “at the end.”
But in subsequent couplets throughout the whole poem,
It’s this second line only will rhyme at the end.
One such a string of strange, unpronounceable fruits,
How fine the familiar old lime at the end!
All our writing is silent, the dance of the hand,
So that what it comes down to’s all mime, at the end.
Dust and ashes? How dainty and dry! We decay
To our messy primordial slime at the end.
Two frail arms of your delicate form I pursue,
Inaccessible, vibrant, sublime at the end.
You gathered all manner of flowers all day,
But your hands were most fragrant of thyme, at the end.
There are so many sounds! A poem having one rhyme?
—A good life with sad, minor crime at the end.
Each new couplet’s a different ascent: no great peak,
But a low hill quite easy to climb at the end.
Two armed bandits: start out with a great wad of green
Thoughts, but you’re left with a dime at the end.
Each assertion’s a knot which must shorten, alas.
This long-worded rope of which I’m at end.
Now Qafia Radif has grown weary, like life,
At the same he’s been wasting his time at. THE END.
Are you ready to write your own ghazal? This will be part of your poetry collection due at term's end, so make sure it falls within your concept for your collection. Write your draft and upload it using this form.
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