Poetry challenge #44: Ghazal

This was one of the first poetry forms I attempted and when I started this poetry challenge it was one of the forms I decided wasn’t suitable. Because it’s difficult to get right. Not impossible, but you need to work at it. However, since this challenge began, I know I have become much more at ease with different forms of poetry and not so easily daunted. The forms I’ve been using in the challenges are far more difficult now than they were in the beginning, so I’m supposing that you have gained in confidence as much as I have.

To cut the blather short, this week’s challenge is to write a ghazal. Shadow poetry explains it better than I can, though I should point out that another version of ‘the rules’ explains that there is no fixed syllable count per line, but each line must be the same length. Also, the first and second lines end on a rhyme, not necessarily the same word. Oh, and although rhythm isn’t obligatory, it’s so much nicer (and more complicated 🙂 ) to get a flow going. And one last apology—I don’t like the last rule about the final stanza referring to the poet’s name. I keep well out of my poems and I won’t mind if you do the same.

A ghazal is a love poem, so it has to be about…love. I’ve added a theme if you want one:


and the image is an enigmatic one—an androgynous Dawn who doesn’t look too happy about the new day beginning.

As usual, you almost a week to write your poem. Just post it in the comments before next Tuesday.


Scattered like ashes at break of the day,

The cracks at dawn reveal love blown away.


Our fumbling hands try to stem the dark flow

From our hearts’ broken seal, love blown away.


Back to back, bitterness gnaws on grief’s bones,

As if tears could repeal love blown away.


I look in your eyes, the light has not died,

In a nightmare unreal, love blown away.


Soft light of morning may show where love fled,

And we find, once wounds heal, love blown away.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

85 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #44: Ghazal”

  1. A great poem Jane, and even better to hear you’re feeling more confident with your poetry; you should do!

    I love hearing about the different styles out there, especially seeing people attempt them.

    1. You ought to have a go. It’s all writing, and I think it helps with sorting out images, the way words fit together, what makes a phrase lyrical, attractive, all the subtle workings of language.

      1. I did used to dabble in poetry, when I was younger, but I bet looking back it would be a cringey mess… I’m interested to give it another go, just never know where to start! 🙂

      2. It’s like paddling. You pretend you’re not really interested in the sea, the waves and whatnot, then you see something shining in the sand at your feet…and you’re away 🙂

  2. I’ve been watching over the last few months, a spectator you might call me, and thought today, instead of watching, I would attempt to contribute. I’ll start by saying I’m not a poet, but, I do love what words can do, how they can make people feel, how raw some words can make emotions birth from ones self. That last line sounded a bit rubbish, but anyway, I’ve had a crack, I hope it fits 👍

      1. Thank you again, Jane=) I mean yeah, it’s not that dark… God knows I’ve written worse.

    1. I’m glad you translated the poem. Not that I understand Assamese, but I do understand the mechanism that urges anyone with two languages to render their words in both of them.

  3. Hi Jane,

    Updated to follow the rules as closely as possible. I do not think I could stick to the syllables rule though.
    Thanks for the challenge ( and challenging me to take the plunge). Read many beautiful poems as a result of trying this new(for me) form.

  4. I almost didn’t try–it’s such a unique and old form. But in the end I gave it a go using something else I had been writing as a base. Thanks for bringing the form to the challenge 🙂 I’ll post my efforts tomorrow morning.

    1. Thanks for having a go, Janice. I hope you’ve noticed in the instructions about the in-line rhyme scheme. Many people haven’t. That is the part that I found the hardest to get right.

      1. I’m just reading this after having posted. I’ll take a look back. The route I took with one last word repeating isn’t my favourite…I would try for something a bit more interesting next time perhaps with a varied previous word rhyming all the way down for example.

      2. It’s one of those forms that is extremely rigid in its structure. You either get it right or you don’t. Sometimes I feel it’s better to dump it and use another form if the words just won’t fit. It’s a challenge, certainly, but the result has to satisfy the poet too 🙂

      3. My impression is that the form is complex but that Western poets have allowed themselves great liberties with its form and thematic content…at least that is my impression from my limited scan of the ghazal universe. There’s a link on my post that might be of interest.

      4. I’m sure you’re right. Since our family of languages is so different to oriental languages, the structure of poetry is bound to be almost impossible to replicate between them.

  5. I just came back and now I see your inner rhyme before the three word refrain…very nice 🙂 I would try for something like that next time.

    1. The hard part is getting the rhyme and the refrain to make sense. Often it sounds better if you change the first word of the refrain especially if it’s a preposition. Someone mentioned that it’s acceptable. It certainly loosens it up a little.

      1. I find structural concerns can be really daunting on top of just having something to say…and I think I prefer variations such as you described.

  6. hi,

    I want to have a guest post in ur blog of my shayaries & ghazals.
    do u have such provision.if yes,then how can I do so..& if no..then can please suggest where I can post as a guest blogger or can give some links those bloggers with large no of followers & who allows guest posts


    1. Sorry, but I don’t do guest posts at the moment because I don’t have the time. Offhand I can’t think of anyone who does offer specific poetry guest posts. Look through your reader with the tag ‘poetry guest post’ and see what you get. There must be bloggers who will host you. Good luck 🙂

  7. Yours is spectacular! Where I live, we listen to a lot of ghazals (they compose it as a song), I’ve written a few but they are not ready to be published yet… Will someday!

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