Thursday, May 1, 2008

ghazal: "when the branch has a plan"


Write an infinite span   but will you reach   the essential?
who has guaranteed man   distills from speech   the essential?

the talking cure came with Freud   with Buddha the sitting cure
if the writing cure can work   it won't screech   the essential

whether writing sitting or talking   frankness grows subtle
self-deception would wan   with lying bleach   the essential

the darkness around   offers ground   for genuine growing
where the branch has a plan   anon the peach   proves essential

the blank slate   if ready for showtime   one could enjoy this
on the back of a fan   black brushes teach   the essential

the temptations of love and religion   few can escape
baldly lying   you stand and blithely preach   the essential

the rhetoric of the line differs   from that of the dot
even emptiness can   brightly beseech   the essential

divine dispensation considers   every condition
whether fire or pan   he shares with each   the essential

does the world spring from nothing?   nothing's nothing to sneeze at
neither water nor land   have taught the beach   the essential

the waves are called endless   maybe this sounds hyperbolic
in eternity's grand conceit   we touch the essential

another day dawns   the city growing familiar
when among humankind   consciousness meets   the essential

has Raphael's poetry struck   a quaint moving target?
now the heart   not the hand   begins to leech   the essential


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written at Laxmi Nagar (Delhi)

3 comments:

Parul Patel said...

I am surprised to see somebody writing ghazal in English! It's possible as many have written in Gujarati, I guess.

Keep up the good work.

Do you follow the "chhand" in Ghazal?

David Raphael Israel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Raphael Israel said...

Long-belated thanks for your note, Parul. (I was, for a long time, very negligent of this blog; perhaps I'll now amend my ways.)

Yes, the ghazal has, in recent years, been making some headway into English-language poetry. For myself, it's now the main form I'm focusing on (though I do write in other forms from time to time).

Regrettably, I'm not aware of the term "chhand." Can you perhaps explain the word? [Googling, alas, simply brings me things like this: "CHAND PAROSA HAI (GULZAR) ALBUM NAME.]

For -- equally regrettably -- I am (sad to note) illiterate vis-a-vis Urdu. What I know about ghazal form has been (gradually) grasped despite this considerable, initial limitation.

cheers,
d.i.