Walking the edge – a Ghazal

Over at dVerse we’re exploring the Ghazal, an old oriental poetry form with seventh century roots. The narrator is nearly always a hero longing for the unobtainable be it wine, lover, God or freedom so its voice is passionate, mystical, bawdry, or political and delivered to engage the audience and in the last line, the author usually sneaks their name in.

Contemporary Ghazals explore more subjects, are experimental with the ‘what and where’ of rhymes and refrains and don’t have a formal signature couplet. However, they do keep to single line couplets, pay attention to cadence and are associational. So I am going contemporary with my Ghazal…thanks John and Gay for an excellent teaching…

i want to walk the edge and
have a million yellow butterflies backing me up

i want to squish ripe fruits and
drink their juices from a pale-blue moonlight cup

i need to feel i-want-you-now-and-badly storm
press hard against my skin

i long for scratch-edge, off-beat tunes,
almost impossible to sing

i want to meet my fears with bravery,
in Cloudy nights without Ray Bans i die to see

did you see..i’ve sneaked my name in…smiles
in real life, almost no one calls me Claudia – but most of my friends call me either Claudi or Clauz and in english you would pronounce it Cloudy or Clouds…


38 responses to “Walking the edge – a Ghazal

  1. Oh! So sensual Claudia…and so breathtakingly beautiful. I must have held my breath from million yellow butterflies on. Lovely. Good one with the Cloudy 🙂


  2. A great Ghazal… I think you’ve done it perrfectly, as everything you do. Missing a picture though…ok- no need of one when the message is so clear and willing!

    Hoping you get all that you long for, dear Claudia.

  3. Doesn’t that get confusing on cloudy days. Hey it’s cloudy, no not you I meant the weather…lol

    Very interesting form too, interesting to see all the different ones and as always well played.

  4. Hi Claudia,

    i need to feel i-want-you-now-and-badly storm
    press hard against my skin

    This couplet is absolutely stunning – a shiver giver for sure!

    Such wonderful expressions and allusions – goose bumps!

    Sensual with charming verve and colour.

    The form has great shape and taut structure through out.


  5. You have put your signature on this one, full of desire and vivid image–the subject matter seems well suited to the tradition, but the voice is modern, and far from cloudy. You and I got lucky with our names here. 😉 I’m wondering how Natasha gets hers in. 😛

  6. Ah my favorite lines in this verse were

    i need to feel i-want-you-now-and-badly storm
    press hard against my skin

    Just brilliant writing IMHO.

  7. Again such beautiful imagery and use of language. I am always smacked in the face with your choice of words and the settings you put them in. They are so fresh and surprising. I knew you would write a very fine one of these.

    Yours is the second I read where the refrain was the first line of the couplet and the other poet was from someone who seemed to have grown up with them. I think there must be a choice to do that, but I’ll let John address that.

    I’m captured by your variety of “longings”. Brilliant as always, Claudia. Thank you,

  8. Hmm. A lovely poem with evocative imagery, Is it a Ghazal, you have a refrain ( even if it’s an opening rather than an ending one). You have couplets ( even if all enjambment). You have a theme of longing ( but it’s not romantic). You have a signature couplet but no internal rhyme. You have free standing couplets but no regular beats per line. It clearly breaks with most of the traditional rules so is it a contemporary Ghazal?

    Well I would struggle to say yes but this poem, classified as a Ghazal, appears to have none of the features other then an echo of couplets. So compared to this yours clearly falls into the Ghazal range! Most of the others from the Poetry Foundation had much more recognisable features so this is perhaps an extreme example of what is held to be a ghazal.

    Departures: Chapter One


    Morning’s mirage, disdainful & calm
    as a mirror,

    held the shorn bush that yesterday

    now lopped canes & a scant spitfall
    of remnance,

    confetti trampled in the clefts
    of vanishing deer.

    To touch its truth I punched my fist
    into the chopped molest,

    the boscage—withdrew my red sleeve.
    Abstract that.

    Source: Poetry (February 2011).

  9. Claudia, this is so you! your voice is always presented most clearly in what ever form you choose to pen…and I am all about yellow butterflies! Thought it wonderful!

  10. Each couplet was like a feather that floated outside my window.. and I lunged to catch hold of it..
    Totally loved the way you incorporated your name into the last verse… real clever!! And Ray Bans… SUPER CLEVER!! 🙂 Yea, rays are banned on those cloudy days.. are they not?! 😉

    You are too good at poetry, Claudia!! *holy bow*

  11. I agree with many other that this …

    i need to feel i-want-you-now-and-badly storm
    press hard against my skin

    … is a breathtaking image.

    Such torrential rains of desire unleashed by passionate Clouds! 🙂

  12. yes, clever. i think the million yellow butterflies is a big burst of a really compelling image that opens this. as for your great close, i haven’t said the words ray bans for so many years and then i said them friday night when i was watching twilight for the first time with some friends and the vampire put on a pair as he assumed his boyfriend role with the protagonist. i love when that happens:)