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You Say

Day 14, NaPoWriMo 2020

Photo by Taylor Ann Wright on Unsplash

You Say


Writing ghazals, oh what a noble pursuit, you say
Following in Ghalib ’s footsteps bears fruit, you say?

Working from home, can be confining at times, but
means comfort in sweatsuits and no commute, you say.

Spending lazy afternoons with grandpa, listening
to tape recorded ghazals was such a hoot, you say.

The ghazal weaved into raga, the singer teasing nuances
With accompanied tabla, harmonium and flute, you say.

How good is your advice?  Versifying in couplets will
impress that cute girl in a floral jumpsuit, you say?

Because I spend time in your tavern, drinking wine,
O saaqii. That makes me a person of disrepute, you say?

Squeeze fresh oranges, pour juice in a glass, stir with
Screwdriver after adding two shots of Absolut, you say.

Like the causal tone of Faiz’s poems carrying embers
of revolution, who’s the heir, the new recruit, you say?

A devotee or an atheist reading Kabir’s dohas, Mirabai’s
vani or Narsinh’s bhajans will transmute, you say.

The stories from long epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata,
Sip into your soul, and lay deep roots, you say.

If I can see through ‘Mirage’ and can discern the
true reality, that makes me very astute, you say!

Notes:  Day 14 of NaPoWriMo 2020.  The prompt “asks you, like Alice Notley, to think about your own inspirations and forebears (whether literary or otherwise). Specifically, I challenge you today to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems. These could be poems/poets/people that you strive to be like, or even poems, poets, and people that you strive not to be like. There are as many ways to go with this prompt as there are ways to be inspired.”

Poets referenced:

Ghalib – Mirza Ghalib
Faiz – Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Kabir – 15th century mystic poet
Mirabai – a 16th century devotional (bhakti) poet
Narsinh –  Narsinh Mehta, a 15th century devotional (bhakti) Gujarati poet, whose Vaishnav Jana poem (bhajan – devotional poem) was one of Gandhi’s favorites.

Though Ramayana and Mahabharat are usually accessible and consumed in the narrative form, they are actually big lyrical epics.
Saaqii – literally a bartender, or barmaid.  But, the word takes on different metaphors for lover, friend, alter ego, the divine in Hindi/Urdu poetry, ghazals.

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