Quasi Ghazal

downloadA couple of weeks ago, life felt more than a bit out of control. I don’t need to go into details again, as I’ve already written about it here. At any rate, in the midst of it, I decided to try to write a ghazal (pronounced more or less like “guzzle”). Honestly, I don’t even know why that form occurred to me except that I knew it was complicated and I’d never attempted to write one.

Ghazals have a lot of requirements (here) and if you know anything about ghazals, you’ll see that I have definitely not met all of them.  Regardless, this turned out to be a fortuitous choice for me.  It was so helpful to take my big blob of anxiety and manipulate it into a structured form. Somehow the requirements of the form gave me some necessary distance from the intensity of the events in my life, but also allowed me to process them.  Since I’m missing some components and some of the stylistic elements, I’ve decided to call it a quasi ghazal.

Here We Are

After we got home from the ER,
we said to ourselves, “Well, here we are.”

Still, our heartbeats skitter, struggling
to find a new rhythm. As we are.

Already road worn on this unchosen
journey, we’re uncertain where we are.

This landscape is inhospitable–
shadows threaten wherever we are.

Destination unknown, there’s no map
guiding us onward from where we are.

With stuttering steps, we move ahead,
aware the ground may shift where we are.

Coiled serpent of anxiety
slithers out to greet us where we are.

Unwanted, persistent companion,
it slides along wherever we are.

As each day ends, we’ve traveled further
from where we once were to where we are.

Though the persistent rattle echoes,
I cherish each moment. Here we are.

Molly Hogan ©2020 (draft)

This week Poetry Friday is off to Australia again!  Poet Kat Apel is hosting at her blog. She’s sharing updates on the situation in Australia, the happy news of some rain and fundraising success, a delightful opossum photo and poem, and a back-to-school poem in a new-to-me form, a trimeric. Make sure to check out her post and find links to others while you’re there. When the events in the world weigh you down, there is solace to be found in poetry. Treat yourself to a moment or two. It’s time well spent.


25 thoughts on “Quasi Ghazal

  1. katswhiskers says:

    Oh Molly. I had missed your earlier post. I’m so sorry for the worry. I know I couldn’t do anything – but I would have liked to carry you in my heart and prayers. I will still. Your earlier blog post was so beautiful and so full of love. I do hope you have answers – and reassurance! – soon. I’m not even going to look deeply into the form of the ghazal in this poem, because your words are enough. The form inspired and shaped – but your heart wrote. Much love. xx

    “As each day ends, we’ve traveled further
    from where we once were to where we are.” 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindabaie says:

    I returned to read your earlier post, am sorry for that worry, that time when we seem to stop, yet hurry, waiting for words, that “serpent of anxiety” you wrote about so poignantly, Molly. I’m glad you found that poetry helped, wishing you some answers in the future that will help. Hugs too! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These couplets speak to so many of us who’ve taken care of family in hospitals.
    “With stuttering steps, we move ahead,
    aware the ground may shift where we are.

    Coiled serpent of anxiety
    slithers out to greet us where we are.”

    You take me/us on your journey. We feel it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Dan. It’s amazing how a heightened sense of anxiety follows you through the days and impacts each moment. It can be difficult to shake it off, though time does help.


      • I stayed with 80 year olds when I commuted four years to Eastern Connecticut State University from York for my first professor job. George Wolfson had a saying, “This too shall pass.” Doesn’t mean it’s easy or without anxiety. I find comfort that good lies ahead.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Tabatha says:

    I’m sorry about the inhospitable landscape and lack of a map 😦 Thank you for sharing your ghazal with us. You did a wonderful job. Your choice of “where we are” was perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thank you, Tabatha. I’m not sure I’ll rework this particular poem, but I do think I’ll try another ghazal some time and try to hit more of the components I missed this time around.


  5. kareneastlund4898 says:

    My heart goes out to you as you try to find footing. So challenging… I love the “inhospitable” pun after the ER. My thoughts go with you in the days ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. margaretsmn says:

    I like how you described that the form allowed you to step back from the intense feelings to write. I felt that way about the Ethical ELA prompt I used this week. Form gives form to crazy unsettled thought making poetry a place to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tara Smith says:

    How marvelous for you to try this complicated form and succeed! Love these lines:
    Coiled serpent of anxiety
    slithers out to greet us where we are.

    Wishing you resolution and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, I am sorry I missed your first post. How terrified you must have been. I remember the day my husband called me and told me he was driving straight to the hospital. The ride seemed so long although the hospital is about 6 minutes away. 4 stents later, I sighed in relief thanking God for a small miracle. I send up a prayer of continued health. As for the poem, I have never heard of this format but see that you expressed your thoughts beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thank you so much, Carol. I can imagine how terrifying your experience was for you and your husband, and I’m so glad to hear that he’s had a good outcome. This is the second episode in the past five or six months for my husband, and we still have more questions than answers. The continuing questions make it hard to move forward.


  9. Linda Mitchell says:

    It’s funny how poetry is a type of medicine. Medicine for the heart and soul, I think. I surely hope you get answers to the medical situation. It’s just awful living in the not knowing. I hope you know how much I already love this ghazal. It has the feel of a train on a loop. I hope the train stops! And, that you have peace of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. *uasi ghazal but fully emotive-medicinal, for you and for us. You are brave to lay it all out there, and admirable for doing it with such craft.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I am sorry for the worry and stress. Having no answers is so frustrating and frightening. I hope you find some, and some peace, soon. Isn’t it miraculous how poetry can take such a tangle and help us sort it out and even become a thing of beauty. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. janicescully says:

    Hi Molly, I hope the medical worries resolve and at least clarify. It’s difficult having those kinds of interruptions. And thanks for showing me this poetry form, one that I need to know more about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Janice. There’s a lot to writing a ghazal and I definitely didn’t accomplish it all in this poem. It’s an interesting form and I hope to play around with it with a more relaxing topic someday! Happy writing!


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