Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two Ghazals

Here are two more ghazals for your reading pleasure; & I’ve added an audio clip of these read by yours truly. Actually, I recorded all 14 of the ghazals written to date, & if folks want, I can continue to post recordings of the poems already on the blog. Since the poems average close to a minute & a half reading time, I think that audio clips of two or at most three poems is the way to go.

A word on the audio: because Blogger doesn’t have a way of directly uploading MP3’s (I know there are some ways around this, but they all strike me as a bit complicated), I’ve come up with the expedient of creating slideshows to present our music, & I enjoy putting those together quite a lot. However, in the same way that I never include a picture when posting my poetry, I decided that I didn’t want to have a slideshow accompanying the poems, & so after a title frame, there is no video—all you need is one image to make a “movie” in Windows Movie Maker.

Hope you enjoy this.

Ghazal 5/9

two green morning stars phosphoresce above Indian Mountain
5:30 a m & finches & sparrows’ staccato outcry in willows’

arms & gray sky melting to whiteness a two story white
house & two green morning stars phosphoresce in a once up-

on a time whitewashed morning July 1978 & gray white air beyond the
screen window beyond a blue green orange batik—it could have been a

river—there aren’t any poems about this there’s 1 photo snapped
sometime later—red door & six steps—two green morning stars phos-

phorescing in a once upon a time distance amongst deep green
leaves & pungent white morning I didn’t have words for this

phosphorescence & you had few enough we were green
morning stars phosphorescing this morning & distant beyond a

screen window & sparrows call greenly to mates re-
peated patterns thru the weeping willow’s yellow empty arms

“it is night and it is serious”

a full moon’s amber light in indigo void a homestead’s
sodium light floating ghostly against the lower

ridgeline—an amber light in a floor lamp a hard-
cover book laid open across a birdseye maple table the words

were buried—I remember we used to sit together & read—an
amber light upstairs in a restaurant a candlelight’s sharp

blonde gesture inside the larger light & ghost-green
floodlights along Interstate 95 north past Perth Amboy the

green Vermont light thru lace curtains all evening we
used to sit together & read—a petrified silence the printed

words’ black gestures in amber light the full moon in
indigo void a Virginia indigo evening in a hilarious restaurant the

hennaed manic laughter “like dice shook”—the tailights’ red
shift fading along Interstate 81 south thru purple shadows

& printed words in a full moon’s amber light in a
void—the Vermont living room’s pine paneling a hennaed

page a ride thru ghost green light & serious words
I remember we used to sit together & read

(quote from Kenneth Fearing’s Green)

John Hayes
© 2009


  1. wonderful~ the repetition of color and images is trance-inducing. Great to hear them read on this Sunday morning... "sparrows call greenly" "the weeping willow's yellow empty arms" "I didn't have words for this"... love those bits.

  2. Hi René:

    Thanks for your kind words, & so glad you enjoyed them.

  3. Lovely, John - the second ghazal is my favourite - "a candlelight’s sharp
    blonde gesture".

    Hooray for the audio! Thank you so much for doing that.

  4. Excellent John.Yes! More Please.

  5. Great to hear them being read John- more please!(in fact any chance of a CD to accompany the book?) Overwhelming colours in the darkness and I too struck by the beauty and the alliterative poetic poignancy of 'the weeping willows yellow empty arms'

  6. I like these ghazals - I like the musical quality of the words.

    It seems to be a good form for creating impressions. I'll have to have a go myself...

  7. John, I hope you're going to put all of these in your book - I want the luxury of poring over them again and again at my leisure.

    Hearing your voice reminds me of the narration of Ken Burns's The Civil War - that deep intonation with the slight twang and such a resonance! I could listen for hours!


  8. Hi Sandra, Tony, TFE, Dominic & Kat:

    Thanks all! Yes, I'll post more audio down the line. As far as including these in the manuscript I've put together, I want that manuscript to just include the San Francisco poems. I certainly do intend that these will exist in book form some time down the line, along with the poems I wrote last year & others more in this vein. I also plan on putting out one of the older Charlottesville material-- in fact check here tomorrow morning for one of them.

    Again, thanks for all the support & kind comments-- & Dominic: yes, give it a whirl.

  9. I enjoyed both f those very much indeed. I have been fascinated by the ghazal form for quite a while now, have tried to write one or two, but haven't come up with anything that satisfies me. Great post.

  10. Hi Dave:

    So glad you liked them. The ghazals I've read & liked (esp. Adrienne Rich's) have tended to present a multi-faceted view from couplet to couplet, & that's one thing I like about the form.


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