Thursday, May 7, 2009

4 Ghazals

Here are four more ghazals written over the past few days. I am going to do some recording of these as folks have asked, but haven’t been able to carve out a space to do this yet—I’ll shoot for having this done by Sunday & if so I’ll post it then. Again, I’ve been gratified by the generous response to these.

I will be posting again this afternoon in response to an award by Linda of World of Spirit: Population Unknown & also of North Sister/South Sister, both excellent blogs & well worth checking out. Linda generously presented Robert Frost’s Banjo with the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks Linda!

In the meantime, hope you enjoy these.

Ghazal 5/3

everything as if in a picture the apple
tree budding in drizzle beside the barbed wire fence a dark

cornerpost bent backwards the tension of three wire strands
& cherry blossoms steeped in raindrops I’m strolling up-

hill thru the Haight in a mist dazzled by love I’m strolling
an aimless magnolia morning in Charlottesville white white

petals slick underfoot I have nowhere to go—a room
I can’t recall red sofa blue paisly curtains black

leather upholstered chairs a secret passage a
library giving onto a garden seen in a mirror a

white magnolia bloom in the backyard & fleshy
holly I’m walking thru glass almost unscathed the Conservatory of

Flower’s glass dome on a gray spring morning purple
dahlias rhododendrons’ lips the calla lilies gestures the

red roses brimming across a white pergola a white sun dress
somewhere else—Virginia in spring white white magnolia

littering my mind amongst the clutter
in a fully furnished room in a mirror’s garden

Ghazal 5/4

an opera’s snowfall in a wooden music box
a silhouette at a harpsichord pet-

rified between chords—white gloves caressing Easter
weekend the Canadian bare silver birches 1982 a

north wind barging thru hopper windows the peri-
winkle blue crocuses hold out their periwinkle blue

hands in the lemon Easter morning the daffodils spreading
butter along the garden’s edge you can practically

see this in the oval mirror in a library an oval mirror
in an orange swoon the orange tulips the lipstick crimson

tulips after an evening of laughter & unbearable
youth the trumpeter swans in the neighbor’s pasture

a landscape whitewashed in an opera’s snowfall—
white gloves folded across bare ground in a love act

the mourning doves on a power line cooing A minor nine
while daybreak returns to the present

“don’t think twice”

a yellow headed blackbird’s trilled caw a gaudy
orange tritone atop a cottonwood tree—I used the

word plangent in a poem once—primary colors mingling to-
ward orange green & purple is this all 1 big party—

what larks— a goldfinch dandelion riot across the lawn the
honeybees mounting the yellow fringe an oval mirror

in a garden a peach blush daffodil it could be some-
body I once knew her dogwood petal flurry of adjectives in

rose-pink twilight her verbs meantime compulsed thru amber air
I want to sing something devastatingly simple not

do re mi in a C# labial frenzy—it’s just what happened—
it ain’t no use etc. a pink & blue porcelain Blessed

Virgin morning sky across the harmonic convergence a
white sundress a yellow rose bouquet a secret passage a

yellow headed blackbird strutting in yellow sunlight pecking
cracked corn a Nuestra Señora statue praying a faded

rainbow palette beside a well            an image I ought to
transmit to someone I don’t recall the name

(title with apologies to Bob Dylan)

song my father taught me

a Vermont May dusk so gray it turned green a
mallow leaf afloat on a black glass beaver pond

dad sank it a wrist-flick a gulp the stone gone
too amongst trilliums & ferns & jack-in-the-pulpit the

deep green & the grape vines gone native—a green
rowboat a caged white lightbulb dangling on a freight elevator in a

paper mill the dark air sinks more deeply in the light
a metallic fish presence dad’s black lunchbox

dented & heavy he fished in black pools
where perch swirled yellow the sawdust’s choking sweetness

in his workshop under the bandsaw’s gray evening whirr a
Black Ghost fly trawled in black bitter glacier lakes for

rainbow trout a metallic fish presence I think a-
mongst the silver birches & black glassy rocks the birches

grasped in roots my dad’s ruined black glass memory a
landscape without a definite article to its name

John Hayes
© 2009


  1. I always say this ... that your work reflects the landscape where you're living. These are so full spectrum, and convey a peace that cannot exist early in life.

    That land where you live is really good for you. I thought of the meadow as I read.

    Can't wait to hear the recordings!

  2. Hi Reya:

    My connection to landscape has always been very strong. In these, I'm wandering around different landscapes-- besides Idaho, Vermont, Virginia & California-- but it does seem true that my current surroundings are always a starting point.

    So glad you like these!

  3. I especially like the last one about your father, John. "...a metallic fish presence dad’s black lunchbox" I could see, feel and smell it!

  4. Thanks Willow-- he did in fact have one!

  5. I just love 5/3 - The movement between times, between places is striking.

    You used plangent, eh? Good for you. I had to look it up, it had been so long since I heard it.

    Oh - and daffodils spreading butter...wonderful.

  6. Hi Sandra:

    Yes, I did-- in a very undergraduate poem! I still cringe thinking about it. Glad you liked these.

  7. Wow! When you get going it's just hard to stop, isn't it? Sometimes there's that flood of ideas and other times it's merely a trickle, or a dry patch of ground, but when it comes...look out! Of course I'm partial to the Canadian birch!
    No, I'm kidding. I love the first two lines of Ghazal 5/4 and the way you split up pet-rified (among many other bits that I enjoyed).


  8. Wow... I don't know how you do this. There is such a wild blossoming in these poems, reminds me of some of the sufi stuff in that way. Have you been whirling around before you write these? I do hope you record them and I really hope you have Eberle play along on the bass. Each one is so rich in so many ways, I can't pick anything out except to say I like the first one best. (I could hear that one in a song by someone like Joni Mitchell, the third stanza as the refrain...)

    Thanks again. These are really a treat.

  9. Hi René:

    Thanks for your generous & enthusiastic response. No, no twirling-- I'd be blue in the face if I did! It's sort of like how I play music-- I just sit in a chair & do whatever I do. I'm seriously planning to record these today & post at least some recording tomorrow. I'm pretty sure it'll be "a capella" however!


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