Of Dying–a Ghazal

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Today at dVerse Poets’ Pub we are challenged to write a Ghazal—a form evolved from ancient poets and mystic in the Middle East. The form employs rhyming couplets, and meter. It consists of 5-15 verses. At the end of the second line of each stanza, a word or phrase is repeated. The poet inserts his or her name in some manner in the last stanza.

Stop by the Pub to read more of this interesting form and add one of your own. http://dversepoets.com

Of Dying
A Ghazal

That pain surrounds our birth, there’s no denying,
though worse, the fear that comes with thoughts of dying.

For life’s sojourn is pierced by sounds of crying,
as day-by-day we creep unto our dying.

Absorbed by fear of loss, we turn to buying
mere toys to mask remembrance of our dying.

And as our days grow long we know dark sighing
of friends and those we love. We watch their dying.

Perhaps, at length, we will eschew defying,
instead, embracing death: Victorious dying.


39 thoughts on “Of Dying–a Ghazal

  1. Jamie Dedes says:


    Well done …


  2. Sheila Moore says:

    there is peace, I am sure, found in embracing dying – esp for those who believe that dying here is not the end of life but the beginning of an eternal one.


  3. Sharmishtha says:

    i love life but death is quite welcome. i dont know yet what will happen when we meet 🙂


  4. Steve says:

    I’m sure one day I might embrace Victorious death but at the moment I’m embracing the making of memories and hoping the embracement (is that a word ?) of death will be a way off yet. Lovely poem Victoria !


  5. Bill says:

    “victoria’s dying” – nice


  6. Well done! I found your poem inspirational and I did get into a similar mood to write mine.


  7. Kavita says:

    Yes..perhaps some day, we will learn to take things as they come.. without complaining too often..
    A very nicely written poignant ghazal, Victoria…


  8. beckykilsby says:

    I very much like how you have interpreted the form, Victoria… it read so well.


  9. David says:

    Hi Victoria, thanks so much for your recent comments. I followed your suggestion and added an email subscription widget to my blog.

    Reading your ghazal again, it still moves me deeply. Great work!


  10. hedgewitch says:

    Whether strict form–and I think this is a harder form than it appears–or not, a thought provoking poem, and a strong finish.


  11. I certainly thought this was powerful. I enjoyed your theme, and my favorite couplet was,

    “Absorbed by fear of loss, we turn to buying
    mere toys to mask remembrance of our dying.”



  12. janaki nagaraj says:

    So true. Well written.


  13. Mike says:

    A wonderful poem.
    Summed up the journey we are all on but try not to think about.
    Clever use of Victorious in the last line.
    I really enjoyed this. Thanks.


  14. David King says:

    Excellent challenge and a brilliant response. I shall have a try – if I can fit it in.


  15. Shah Wharton says:

    Wow – I LOVE this. It’s dark and hauntingly moody and I like the twinge of hope at the end, where fear of dying turns to acceptance. I’m here from the hop.

    P.S: I do a creative blog hop over the weekends – this would be a LOVED addition, should you wish to link up


    SHAH X


  16. mish says:

    This is amazing ! I’ve never encountered this type of a poem before ! Victoria , you are really a wonderful poet ! Have you published any poems yet ? You need to compile your own anthology …


    • I’ve published a few poems in lit journals, Michelle, and am working on a book to go up soon on e-books but it’s on the back burner as I edit my novel that has just come back from the editor with some recommendations. Wish there were more than 24 hours in a day! Thank you.


  17. Victoria, I have written exactly one ghazal in my life, so I admire you very much – it’s a tough form. Yours is poignant in its evolution from fear to “what am I doing here” and finally, to bravery, knowing life doesn’t end. There are so many good things in this poem that speak to courage in the face of adversity. Brava! Amy


  18. David says:

    Victoria, this is a moving and powerful ghazal. I love how you wove your name into the triumphant closing couplet. This poem really strikes home for me. We have a friend in our neighborhood who is dying of cancer — hospice was called in today. (My poems “St. Gemma’s Eyes” and “The Dying Convert” make reference to him.) Your wonderful ghazal inspires meditation and hope.


  19. This is gorgeous. I love the rhymed couplets, What a beautiful message you share. I love this, Victoria, wonderful job.


  20. souldipper says:

    I’m waiting for you to bring out the form you invented and have kept to yourself, you clever one!


  21. leah says:

    your’s flowed beautifully.


  22. So that is how you do it. Excellent. I loved it all, Victoria. I loved the way you wove your name in the end. Outstanding n creative!



  23. padmavani says:

    Beautiful Victoria! I just loved the flow of this Ghazal!



  24. Laurie Kolp says:

    I love it as is… I think it reads well… love the last couplet. = )


  25. siggiofmaine says:

    Thank you for your post…it made the ghazal form of poetry very clear to me.

    It is an interesting set of rules to follow…the last part, fitting in one’s own name
    will be the most difficult for me, I think. Will give it a try…

    ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine


  26. Hey

    This is my first run thru with this form so i will just chat about what i know (if you dont mind ;~)

    I Loved your concept – the cyclicle nature feels right for the form and i think you deliver that so well.
    I felt the journey which i aslo thought was brilliantly delivered with skill and most of all i adored the fact that you finshed with death but i felt like we were raging into that good night.



  27. brian says:

    ha great touch with how you did your name…this is well done…the stanza on buying toys, that is the shiner for me…see this all too often…


  28. Claudia says:

    clever – smuggling your name as victorious in…swallowed hard by the line…friends and those we love. We watch their dying… but yeah – victory in the end


  29. A valiant ghazal – such a complex form to master. So far as the form was concerned, the only thing missing was internal rhyme and half rhyme. As in the spec, your couplets are stand-alone, and your conclusion is very clever. Did you do one of these for Margo Roby? Her tutorial was great.


  30. Mama Zen says:

    This is outstanding! Wow!


  31. ayala says:

    So hard to embrace death. Your words touched me.


  32. Hi, my feedback is based on these five factors starting from a traditional perspective.

    1) Association

    One of the key factors of the form – traditional or modern is that the couplets need to be based as it were on variations on a theme. And stand alone as the order should not matter. Here the poem is linear and explores an argument so falls outside of a Ghazal form.

    2) Theme

    This is about death/dying rather then unrequited yearning, which is within the modern take.

    3) Couplets

    Traditionally as you say, it can be as low as 5 but not all traditions set a upper limit.What isn’t in either approach is that your couplet is an enjambment line rather then two stand alone sentences.

    4) Rhyme and refrain

    In the classical tradition, the opening couplet would set the refrain as the same in the end lines as well as establish the internal rhyme. Then in the rest of the couplets the refrain and rhyme would be on the second line. Here you put the rhyme at the end of the first line and echo the refrain. This can be fine in a modern form.

    5) Metre

    I think you have gone for a iambic metre which is fine

    In short, this is a fine exploration of an important theme but its linear form and lack of standalone, two sentence/line couplets takes it out of traditional and most modern forms of Ghazal.


    • John, thanks so much for the thorough review. I saw the theme before it was posted on Gay’s twitter and wrote it based on a definition found on the Internet. So glad to have your thorough article and critique to learn from now. Very enjoyable process and I’ll want to try it again. Thank you.


  33. Love it, Ghazal something new for me… interesting indeed.


  34. C Rose says:

    This speaks so well to our very attachment to death, even though its simply part of life. Beautifully done! ~ Rose


  35. tashtoo says:

    Victoria! This is wonderful! Deeper and darker but ending with a vibrancy! Love the rhyme, and it read beautifully. As mentioned, I am no master of form! So I can offer no critique…but I can certainly enjoy a wonderful write!


  36. hollyheir says:

    This seemed fabulous to me Victoria. (I didn’t rhyme my couplets – I did use iambic tet, does that count?) They’re right – this form does give a very thorough way to unfold a subject as you did here. You explore so easily the thoughts that lurk at the edges of our minds and these days taking forefront in mine as I watch my friend valiantly undergo cancer treatments. I LOVE how you inserted your “name” so cleverly with the apt use of “Victorious”. Seemed all excellent to me.
    Thank you.


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