Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two More Ghazals

Here are two more ghazals written a few days back; sorry there’s no audio this time around. As I mentioned yesterday, this week has been kinda unbelievably busy, with a string of appointments & tasks.

In addition, I’d like to thank Cheryl of the wonderful Lizzy Frizzfrock blog for her kindness in awarding me the Palabras Como Rosas. According the Cheryl’s post, “The award is for words that like roses, leave a wonderful perfume, lingering for a while.” That’s a lovely thought, & I’m very flattered that Robert Frost’s Banjo was chosen to receive this. I will be passing the award along, but it may be a day or two on that—so many deserving blogs to choose from!

In the meantime, hope you enjoy these.

“what can we talk about that will take all night?”

footsteps descending a staircase a cello played pizzicato
a sense of anticipation within the ribs the

blue haze this morning the redwinged blackbirds’
chirp amongst the cherry blossoms an unsettling

silence in an amber apartment a skybluepink porcelain
Blessed Virgin on a knickknack shelf

there was always something left unsaid—
10 years prior footsteps coming down stairs in a blue

Vermont summer evening the damp air off the big lake the
Virginia air spring 1987 was a red rose blossom on a white

pergola an unsettling silence pulsing pizzicato around an em-
brace beside a staircase the unsettling skybluepink

laughter around an embrace the “thin whistled
notes” of white-crowned sparrows’ song within a cottonwood’s

boughs—columbine about to bloom—a room trembling with
anticipation within the ribs—a

sob in the hedge a laugh in the green green streetlamp’s light—
a sigh inside the ribs a mahogany mandocello’s low

C-string tremolo the continual thrill of birdsong in the
cottonwood this morning the echo of unsaid words

(quote from Kenneth Patchen’s Do The Dead Know What Time It Is?)

Ghazal 5/11

the difference between frail pink quince petals & delicate yellow
pistil & an inability on the part of two young people to

speak their hearts’ desire is a breeze shifting the willow ‘s
delicate boughs on a spring morning when I’m 52 already my

beard streaked gray like a white-crowned sparrow—the
difference between rollicking whitecaps across Lake Champlain past

the causeway toward South Hero & the words in a young
heart saying “there will always be a time” is a yellow headed blackbird’s

harsh trill in cattails surrounding a pond refelcting an un-
clouded sky—the difference between grape vines embracing the cedar

posts in contorted gestures & two chairs in an apartment in a white
building beyond a red door in Burlington, VT is a

young peach tree’s pink blossoms beside a wrought-iron
glass-topped table reflecting blue haze—the difference be-

tween an inability for young quince petal lips to tell the entire story &
the call of sandhill cranes circling becomes a May forenoon scribbled
        with poems

John Hayes
© 2009


  1. Do you think anyone, young or old, has a grip on his or her desires? They shift around a lot, don't they?

    Maybe just for me.

    As usual, thank you for your poetry. I am well fed by your words.

  2. Hi Reya:

    No, at some deep level I think they shift a very lot. Thanks-- so glad you liked these

  3. I love "Blessed Virgin on a knickknack shelf", "skybluepink" and "mahogany mandocello". :)

  4. Thanks Willow-- glad you liked them.

  5. Another brace of impeccable Ghazals, John and so full of colour- again.If they were ever to be in a book perhaps you should call them 'Colours of the heart' By the way did I ever mention that my maternal grandmothers surname was Hayes?

  6. I think I like these two ghazals best of all (so far). 'anticipation within the ribs' touches me.

  7. I'm anxious to try one of these, but I'm a bit hesitant too. I'm not sure if I've got the method or motivation down.
    Yours are always so darn good.


    P.S. I've had another shot at a triolet. It is the counterpart to Red's apology in a way.

  8. hey John, yea, I have noticed already the base is helping me figure out the concept of scales. I think it will help my banjo efforts. Thanks for the comments on my blog. By the way. any sugestions for responding to responses in a blog. It seems a little convoluted for me now to have an exchange back and forth. Oh, and, loved the garden tour with the steel drums.

  9. Hi TFE, Sandra, Ket & Randy:

    TFE: Thanks-- I like thinking of a brace of ghazals. Who knows: we may be long lost cousins several times removed!

    Sandra: Thanks a lot-- I also liked these two quite a lot.

    Kat: I don't know if these are the best examples to work from. You might check out this, which in turn has a number of links.

    Randy: Thanks for stopping by, & glad you're enjoying the bass. As far as responses: I try to respond to everyone individually, tho when I'm really busy as I have been lately, I tend to respond to most comments in fell swoop as here. Some folks will subscribe to the comments feed, & if people are getting the feed (for instance by clicking on "Email comments"), then there can be an exchange. Hope that helps....

  10. These are both lovely but I particularly like the differences between. Unpacking the differences between anything at all and the inability of two people to speak their hearts’ desire is surely the work of a lifetime.

  11. John - I finally got back to my computer and figured out the award comment you posted in my comment box last week. Thank you so much for the kind words and kinder thoughts.

  12. I have to come back and read these again, but I loved that second one, especially how you've become a white-crowned sparrow. :)

    Safe travels~

  13. Hi Mairi, Rene & Kate:

    Mairi: Thanks so much--I do think that might be the "stronger" one of the two (the "difference between" one), tho I like them both. & yes, it's a work of a lifetime indeed-- the (emotional) events I'm looking back on in that poem took place over 30 years ago. & you're very welcome!

    Rene: Thanks! I lifted the line about the white-crowned sparrow's song from some bird guide.

    Kate: Got it!

  14. "Like a white-crowned sparrow" - love it! We have a pair that land on the porch with regularity - they come back every year and we christened them Lance and Sheryl (but of course, Sheryl's gone from Lance Armstrong's life now).


  15. Hi Kat:

    We have a lot of sparrows here-- we're fortunate to have a spot that's a bit of a bird haven due to a fair amount of cover (by local standards) & water (ditto). The Lance & Sheryl sparrows are a funny thought indeed!


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