April 12, 2007

Ahmed Al Safi



Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar
—Laurence Hope


Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell

before you agonize him in farewell tonight?

Pale hands that once loved me beside the Shalimar:

Whom else from rapture’s road will you expel tonight?


Those “Fabrics of Cashmere—” “to make Me beautiful—”

“Trinket”—to gem—”Me to adorn—How—tell”—tonight?


I beg for haven: Prisons, let open your gates—

A refugee from Belief seeks a cell tonight.


Executioners near the woman at the window.

Damn you, Elijah, I’ll bless Jezebel tonight.


Lord, cried out the idols, Don’t let us be broken,

Only we can convert the infidel tonight.


Has God’s vintage loneliness turned to vinegar?

He’s poured rust into the Sacred Well tonight.


In the heart’s veined temple all statues have been smashed.

No priest in saffron’s left to toll its knell tonight.


He’s freed some fire from ice, in pity for Heaven;

he’s left open—for God—the doors of Hell tonight.


And I, Shahid, only am escaped to tell thee—

God sobs in my arms. Call me Ishmael tonight.


Agha Shahid Ali


From :
The Country Without A Post Office
(W.W. Norton and Co., 1997)





BJ Adams


3 Responses to “Ghazal”

  1. ghazal-ku:

    what sound will he hear
    with eyes closed? so listen well
    to the world tonight

    song on the west wind
    her voice rings true as a bell
    struck softly tonight

    the dulcimer tones
    whose crescendo will propel
    him onward tonight

    that initial glance
    proves the working of the spell
    meets success tonight

    the stars are witness
    a union that would dispel
    all their fear tonight

    liquidquick, voyeur,
    watches from the crystal well
    with eyes closed, tonight


    wow, kim. thank you for introducing me to this awesome poet and poetic style. wikipedia has a really cool article on a.s. ali and hours of reading on ghazal and persian poetry in general.

  2. test test test. i wrote a hybrid ghazal/haiku response to this but i think it might have tripped your spam filter since it never showed up.

    which, in retrospect was good, cuz now that i look back at it, the whole thing was garbage anyway.

    but the IMPORTANT part of the post went something like this:

    ‘wow, kim thanks for spotlighting this awesome poet and poetic style on your site. i just spent about three hours pouring through wikipedia’s article on a.s. ali and the related links to ghazal and persian poetry.’

  3. kimtelas said

    When I read Ali, my soul gets bigger.

    This is my bliss, connection and expansion.

    Thanks for sharing your passion.


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