Sara’s Ghazal

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

Ghazal originally was an Arabic verse form that dealt with loss and love. The form of the poem has its own intricate rhyme scheme. Each couplet ends on the same word or same type of phrase. This is also known as a radif. This couplet is usually followed by the couplet’s rhyming word. which is called a qafia. In the traditional Persian or Urdu quantitative meters, each couplet appeared to have the same number of syllables.

“Sara’s Ghazal” by Jonathan Musgrove uses the repetition of the word “body,” more specifically “this body,” over and over to show a connection between the writer and the woman he is referencing in the piece. The author must feel a heavy connection to this woman as he first seems to offer himself to her by saying, “Your holy arms open, bid me, take this body,” (Musgrove 215). This line carries almost a begging tone; the man wants this woman to choose him. It seems there is also some kind of connection to this possibly being the speaker’s first sexual experience. The speaker states, “Fear and dream make a lovely pact: fuel and the fire” (Musgrove 215). Here, the speaker is not just excited but also a bit fearful going into this experience. However, he then states that this “fear” is making him want to do these things even more.

This is not just a simple poem about intercourse, but more seemingly there is an underlying theme of religion. Words like “holy,” “silver goblets,” and “dark confessional,” are used throughout. This could reference that the speaker’s physical attraction could be going against his religious views. This would make sense as to why he is so fearful and skittish about what to do.

Musgrove, Jonathan. “Sara’s Ghazal.” Edited by Annie Finch and Kathrine Varnes, An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, U of Michigan P, 2016, p. 215.

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The Spanish poet, Octavia Paz writes, “Poetry is made out of the very substance of history and society — language.” If this is true then when we give language form, we also formalize history and society. In other words, reality is linguistic architecture.

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