Write me a ghazal or a pantoum  August 1, 2007 - August 12, 2007

Reading and Deliberating


Two complicated forms of poetry...

Here is an example of a ghazal:

Kiss the hand and cheek, kiss the lips that open.
Kiss the eyes and tears, kiss the wounds that open.

The nuclei of our atoms are so small, we are mostly nothing.
Whoever did this made our stone walls out of windows always open.

In a thicket: A bag too dark to see, too big to lift, too familiar to walk away from.
God grant me strength to drag it into the open.

6:10, stuck on the freeway again.
Love is singing with window and throat wide open.

My friend refused to greet the stranger in black,
was brought to the surgeon, who cut his heart open.

Go ahead, I dare you, take another breath. Each one is full
of what 14 billion years ago blew this world open.

We safecracker poets sand fingertips, pass long nights on our knees.
All to feel those clicks that mean the door will spring open.

Len says, I love the night sky, but I adore the Milky Way:
It is the edge of Her robe. See how gently it opens.

A traditional Ghazal consists of five to fifteen couplets, typically seven. A refrain (a repeated word or phrase) appears at the end of both lines of the first couplet and at the end of the second line in each succeeding couplet. In addition, one or more words before the refrain are rhymes or partial rhymes. The lines should be of approximately the same length and meter. The poet may use the final couplet as a signature couplet, using his or her name in first, second or third person, and giving a more direct declaration of thought or feeling to the reader.

Each couplet should be a poem in itself, like a pearl in a necklace. There should not be continuous development of a subject from one couplet to the next through the poem. The refrain provides a link among the couplets, but they should be detachable, quotable, grammatical units. There should be an epigrammatic terseness, yet each couplet should be lyric and evocative.


In a traditional Pantoum:

The lines are grouped into quatrains (4-line stanzas).

The final line of the Pantoum must be the same as its first line.

A Pantoum has any number of quatrains.

Lines may be of any length.

The Pantoum has a rhyme scheme of abab in each quatrain. Thus, the lines rhyme alternately.

The Pantoum says everything twice:

For all quatrains except the first, the first line of the current quatrain repeats the second line in the preceeding quatrain; and the third line of the current quatrain repeats the fourth line of the preceeding quatrain.

In addition, for the final quatrain, its second line repeats the (so-far unrepeated) third line in the first quatrain; and its last line repeats the (so-far unrepeated) first line of the first quatrain.

A particular understanding, peculiar knowledge -
the weaver knows each string of warp;
a comfort of touch. Fingertips
sleying, drawing-in the thread,

the weaver knows each string of warp,
its path and place in the fabric.
Sleying, drawing-in the thread,
each thin piece evolves specific, separate.

Its path and place in the fabric
join with others to form the whole.
Each thin piece evolves specific, separate,
something calm and repetitive,

joins with others to form a whole
as the cook making prune jam -
something calm and repetitive -
repeats each task with regular skill.

As the cook making prune jam
pits and skins the fruit,
repeats each task with regular skill,
warm boiled fruit slips through hands.

Pits and skins. The fruit:
each reward of familiar flesh.
Warm boiled fruit slips through hands
and fingers remember

each reward of familiar flesh
for lovers in a darkened, quiet bed.
And fingers remember
how the body's map of texture changes.

For lovers in a darkened, quiet bed
each velvet hair on the low curve of back,
the body's map of texture changes
to find, perhaps, the zipper of a scar.

Each velvet hair on the low curve of back;
a comfort of touch, though fingertips
find, perhaps, the zipper of a scar,
a particular understanding, peculiar knowledge."

Have fun!


$none sorry, none other than a nifty ribbon


1st place 1st place
2nd place 2nd place
3d place 3d place
4th place 4th place
5th place 5th place
6th place 6th place


Brest, France


Created Aug 1, 2007

Submit Submit Writing


  • Any WritersCafe.org Member can Submit
  • Only Poetry can be Submitted
  • All Genres of Writing can be Submitted
  • Each Contestant May Submit 3 Pieces of Writing
  • Writing may be submitted 8/1/2007 - 8/12/2007
  • Winners will be decided by the Moderator


Ashentara is solely responsible for the content of this contest, including all promised prizes. Take any promises of large monetary awards with a grain of salt. Contact Ashentara if you have any further questions.