Thursday, April 13, 2017

PAD Day 13: A Family Ghazal

Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo: (1) write a "family" poem, and (2) write a ghazal.

If you are not familiar with the form, the ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning. The ghazal is of Middle Eastern origin and was popularized in English by 20th Century poet Agha Shahid Ali. Most ghazals I've read use a repeated word or phrase in the second line of each stanza, and rhyming is optional, though I used slant rhyme in this one. I also can't claim that the couplets are "thematically and emotionally autonomous", so whether this is a ghazal in the truly traditional sense may be debatable. Regardless, I hope you like it.

Grandfather’s Ghazal

For years I wondered if I my children would have children,
then two little girls greeted the  world, my beautiful grandchildren.

Some days they swoop in like a little fighter squadron,
attacking the house with activity, these busy grandchildren.

The older one is smart, knows words like dodecahedron,
the younger one just learning words - these chatty grandchildren.

It’s a struggle to corral these foals, to get them to listen –
I’m chasing them through my day, having time only for grandchildren.

We careen from bedroom to bathroom, living room to kitchen,
hide-and-seeking, speedster-racing, me and my grandchildren.

Needless to say, there’s little time to write – typed or handwritten,
when dealing with the shenanigans of two active grandchildren.

I’m spent, but when they call me “Pop-pop”, once again I'm smitten
with inexhaustible love for these two girls, my grandchildren.

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