PF: Unrepentant

This month Margaret posed a doozy of a challenge to our group, or as my grandfather would have said, “It was a real lulu!” Margaret suggested that this month we write ghazals (pronounced “guzzles”). Apparently, she’d been having a hankering to write one and thought she’d invite us all to come along for the ride. And what a ride it was! It definitely pushed me right out of my comfort zone–always a good, if not comfortable, thing!

I’d written what I called a quasi-ghazal once a year or so ago, and all I remembered was that the form was darned challenging. This time I was determined to get closer to fully adhering to it. I found a post on Tweetspeak that offered some guidance. It outlined step by step how to write a ghazal (click the link if you want more details) and also shared a mentor ghazal by Patricia Smith.

Hip-Hop Ghazal

Gotta love us brown girls, munching on fat, swinging blue hips,
decked out in shells and splashes, Lawdie, bringing them woo hips.

As the jukebox teases, watch my sistas throat the heartbreak,
inhaling bassline, cracking backbone and singing thru hips.

Like something boneless, we glide silent, seeping ‘tween floorboards,
wrapping around the hims, and ooh wee, clinging like glue hips.

(click the Tweetspeak link above to read the rest of this poem)

After reading this, I was more than a bit daunted. I couldn’t make up my mind what I even wanted to write about. I started and stopped. Started and stopped. I just couldn’t find my way. In the end, let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty process, but I persevered. I still don’t think I’ve hit 100% of the requirements, but I’m getting closer. Once it finally started to come together, it was kind of fun. Borderline brutal, but kind of fun, and definitely satisfying.


I confess, I enjoy a glass of wine at night.
Lips to glass. Upright to supine at night.

I prefer Cabernet to Merlot, seeking body
in spirits that linger with moon’s shine at night. 

Come, join me, drink to dreams deferred
and days gone by. Liquid anodyne at night.

Half-remembered words circle while I sleep —
a haunting or a visit more divine at night.

When shadows lengthen, intoxicated by starlight,
will you turn into my arms and be mine at night?

©Molly Hogan

Wine seems to be a theme for me this month. Not sure what’s up with that, but I’m going with it, so I’m also sharing a tetractys inspired by one of Kat Apel’s recent posts.

new school year
I quaff my red with no hesitation.

©Molly Hogan

Finally, I offer you this find from our local village store:

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Heidi Mordhorst at her blog, My Juicy Little Universe. She’s sharing her most-amazing ghazal there. You can visit the other Inklings at their blogs to check out some more ghazals.
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading


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.