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Sunday, March 3, 2013


The Ghazal (pronounced Guzzle) is an Arabic form that consists of rhyming couplets. It typically deals with the pain of love (especially lost love) combined with the beauty of love. The Persian form which derives from the older Arabic form deviates considerably. Generally when the Ghazal is described it is the Persian form that is used. Goethe introduced the form to the Western world which became transmuted into the Bastard Ghazal

Form Type:
Number of Lines:
Rhyme Scheme:
AA, bA, cA, etc
Not Applicable

Persian Ghazal
There are a number of rules to observe in a fully formed Persian Ghazal, though some may be omitted. They are:

1. The poem must consist of 5 or more couplets, known as sher or bayt unto a maximum of 25 couplets.

2. The second line of each sher usually ends with a radif which is a repeated word or phrase, this may however be omitted.

3. Before the radif or at the end of the sher if the radif is not present is a rhyme known as the qaafiyaa.

4. Each line and each couplet must have the same meter beher. Although this restriction is relaxed in modern Urdu Gazals.

5. Each couplet must be complete within itself, there is no enjambment across couplets.

6. Each sher should be a closed poem in its own right, however there may be a continuity of theme or thought running through them. In this case the poem is known as a musalsal ghazal (continuous ghazal).

7. The final sher is called the maqta it is usual for the writer to include their takhallus name or pen name in this sher. However this is relaxed in some modern Ghazals.

8. Normal practice is to keep the number of Shers odd.

Arabic Ghazal

The older Arabic form of the Ghazal differs slightly with its rules. They are:

1. It is traditional not to split the Sher into a couplet, but to keep it as a bayt (long line). However it can still be rendered as a couplet.

2. Each line must share the same meter. The line must divide naturally into two hemistiches (halves) with a caesura in the middle. The caesura must occur metrically and may appear in the middle of a word. The author decides how visible the caesura should be.

3. The length of a hemistiches must be between trimeter and heptameter. If using a accentual or accentual-syllabic meter you will have between three and seven beats. If using syllabic meter then the hemistiches should be between six and fourteen syllables long. If totally free style then the lines should look evenly balanced.

4. Monorhyme is employed for each line of the poem.

5. While Slant Rhyme can be used it should not be so subtle as to lose the effect of rhyme which is vital to this form.

6. Using the same rhyming word should be avoided unless there is a very good reason for it.

7. Complete Autonomy within a line is not as important as in the Persian forn. Some enjambment between lines is allowed, but this should not be too radical.

8. The first line rhymes the syllable before the caesura with the syllable ending the line. All other lines rhyme on the final syllable.

9. Stanza breaks are not required and may be used when the writer feels it is appropriate.

Example Poem

Your Love   (Ghazal)

I  spent youth's dawn just searching for your love;
no idealist, it need not be pure love.
An Idealist in every other way
I wanted shared devotion from your love.
I tried other girls as I searched for you,
but none did cleave so well until your love.
Your mind captured my mind, your body sang
to  mine. I  was fulfilled by your love.
I let unimportant matters intrude,
Lawrencealot, neglect cost you your love!

(c) Lawrencealot - April 5, 2012

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1 comment:

  1. Very nice sad poetry.
    I am sharing some of my favorite sad poetry here.

    Dil ki baat labon par la kar ab tak ham dukh sehte hain
    Ham ne suna tha is basti mein dil wale bi rehte hain

    Beet gya sawan ka mahena mosam ne nazrain badlen
    Lekin in payasi aankhon se ab tak aansoo behte hain

    Aik hmain awara kehna koi bara ilzam nahi
    Dunya wale dil walon ko aur bohat kuch kehte hain

    Jin ki khatar shehr bi chora jin ke liye badnaam hoye
    Aaj wohi ham se begane begane se rehte hain

    Wo jo abi is rah guzar se chak greban guzra tha
    Us awara dewane ko jalib jalib kehte hain