Ghazal for Laylat-Ul-Qadr

*gasp* A poem? On WaxesPoetic? “But Neiha,” I hear you say, “I thought you said you wouldn’t be-”

Yes. I know. But exceptions prove the rule, and I was very sweetly asked to share this poem somewhere on social media more than once today, and – most importantly – it’s a poem about Laylat-ul-Qadr, my favorite time(s) of the year. It’s also a ghazal, a poetry-form I have been struggling with for the past three years. I took some liberties with form, but that’s not unusual for a ghazal written in English.

And as more context, this poem was the result of The Fletcher School’s creative writing group meeting earlier today, where we were all tasked with writing a piece that ended with the last line of a book! The line assigned to me was, “He can always decide to turn around.” A ghazal just seemed to follow.

As a disclaimer, I don’t think this is anywhere near the final version of this poem – but that’s true for every single poem ever written. Enjoy – Ramadan Mubarak, all!

Ghazal for Laylat-ul-Qadr

What glory, here, among this ash?
What glory to dwell in this unfound?
What glory in hardship, dust, and dark –
Come back, my heart, come back around.
I look for you in bark, in sap,
I look through clouds, through skies unbound.
And if I do not look enough, still:
Come back, my heart, come back around.
In waters deep and waters shallow,
No you -- just ships – ships run aground.
In every brushstroke, vowel, and verb,
The glimpse of you brightest when leather-bound.
How many ways to speak of you?
How many words? How many sounds?
How long must I run myself aground?
I have loved wide and wrong to find you,
Taken desperate leaps, if only to drown.
Turned myself into every vision of you,
To land in my own truth, ochre’d and browned,
Designs, schemes, tumultuous paths?
To what end, my heart, do you turn me around?
Grief, unending, this drunken desire,
Drinking to drink you, this wine, abound.
And at the drunkest of drunk the wisdom is brief,
The wisdom, through grief, stalwart, diamondbound.
What is there to see, to spy, to notice,
What is there to see of a light all around?
No fish can see water, no woman the air,
Do you fret for the fish when the water abounds?
Don’t grieve for me, exult in my search,
Through mire, through sunlight, in Him I am gowned --
I am content, in this desperate chase, content
in knowing He can always decide to turn around.

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