The path leads into night

The dverse challenge tonight is to write a ghazal, one of the most horribly difficult poetry forms I know of. This is a ghazal I wrote a while back. It takes me ages to write one so I’m using an old poem for tonight. If I get another one done this side of the summer I’ll post it too.


The path leads into night, when shadows fall,

I take your hand, hold tight, when shadows fall.


The owl swoops through the dark, I hear her call,

Pale wings beat through moonlight, when shadows fall.


A small death in the silence, bitter gall,

Too rapid to take fright, when shadows fall.


So many dangers in the dark befall,

For only stars shed light, when shadows fall.


Cypress boughs stretch, beams of a forest hall,

Filter a gleam, so slight, when shadows fall.


The beauty of the night will never pall,

Though death delights, whenever shadows fall.


Your eyes reflect the stars; I see them all,

On wings, fly there we might, when shadows fall.


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.

56 thoughts on “The path leads into night”

  1. I agree that it is very difficult form. I think I’ve written only one (I think for one of your challenges). Mostly when I’ve tried, I end up trashing them because they just sound stupid. I like your repeated phrase, and the last couplet is lovely.

      1. It took a bit longer. About twenty minutes. But I realise I’ve made it unnecessarily difficult by adding an extra rhyme. I could have sworn I read somewhere that was how to do it…

      2. I thought I remembered that, too, but there seem to be so many variations. I put in an internal rhyme, but not an end rhyme, and my lines are not all the same length, and mine is not about love–but other than that it’s follows the form exactly. ๐Ÿ™‚

      3. These poetry forms that were created for completely different languages to ours always leave me feeling as though there’s some point we’re not getting.

      4. I think it’s the setting of his story that works rather than his character which is about as good a role model as your average gansta rapper/drug dealer/girlfriend beater.

  2. Your rhyme and refrain are perfectly executed. The image is dark and haunting ….and the words flow effortlessly. If this was hard for you….then your easy poems would be……. (*no words*. …WOW?) ๐Ÿ˜„

  3. I can see from this poem why you might have that sense of ‘too much structure’ There’s
    a lot of rhyming in there. That is a challenge for sure ( and one you bested I might add)
    Perhaps the rhyme is required less. If you look at Shahid Ali’s ‘even the rain’ on the prompt you’ll see that the rhyme is used more sparingly. Every other line after the first two. Might offer some more ‘freedom’ in the writing.

    1. It would but I’d think of it as a cop out. When you read it aloud, that rhyme that precedes the refrain is expected. Miss it and the poem sounds wrong. Same for the end rhymes. If you miss the odd one, it notices. Maybe in Arabic it works, maybe the translation takes liberties, but if you’re going to go with the form, go with it to the bitter end. That’s maybe a tight-arsed attitude, but can’t help it.

      1. And I am. Can’t find where I got the idea that the whole thing has to rhyme every which way. Still. If you like sitting up all night thinking of rhymes, my version is the one to go for ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You have certainly transcended the difficulties of the form, Jane. This seems to me perfectly realised, and it is very beautiful.

  5. when shadows fall leads the mind to all sorts of mystery Jane, I liked the rhythm of your poem, this was very difficult to write and I just went with what I misguidedly understood! reading others has been very educational. yours here puts more perspective to the structure.

    1. I think I used a very rigid interpretation, Gina. Anything in translation from another language and another culture is going to have to be adapted. I’m also certain that the Persian poets who first used this form stuck to a pretty strict format.

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