Ghazal of Lost Hope
Hope is the word which God has written on the brow of every man.
|Pandora ~ John William Waterhouse|
Why is that last word written on your brow?
Grit your teeth, grin and strip hope from your brow.
Of this Pandorian treasure, I say:
Tighten lid, lest elpis sit on your brow.
Attempt not to count blossom on the trees;
Late frost claims early flowers from your brow.
Drought broke with floodwater breaching the gates.
Rain drowned hope, scoured the lines from your brow.
A saint and a sinner confer all night;
Both agree: life left its mark on each brow.
Expect betrayal. Trust lies broken too.
Those are your tears, your sweat on troubled brow.
He battled the night – fought terrors within –
Understood, when he tore hope from his brow.
We raised our prayers for peace, all beseeching.
The reply: I wrote no word on your brow.
Stop the leakage of this eternal spring;
Kerry, it’s false hope you wear upon your brow.
© Kerry O’Connor
When Hedgewitch contacted me last week to ask if I would take on her personal challenge of form poetry, I was trepidatious, to say the least. Not because I don't write to form, but because I hold Hedgewitch as one of the finest poets of form, and I wondered if I could live up to her expectations. She gave me the option of three forms: the pantoum, terza rima or ghazal. I chose ghazal because it is a form I have yet to perfect.
As I understand the form of Ghazal, it consists of several stand-alone couplets, which are united by the repeated words at the end of line two and by a thematic tie. Traditionally, the subject matter of Ghazals tends towards melancholy and metaphysical questions, as well as love and longing. I have chosen to work with the former. Please read a more accurate description HERE.
Recently, I came across the Victor Hugo quote, and thought it was very affirming of the human spirit, but it nagged at me until I asked myself this question: “What if hope is the curse of humanity, rather than our greatest asset? Without it, wouldn’t we be more likely to face up to the reality of the present, rather than relying on our imaginations to supply a projected better time to come?" Many of my readers may disagree with every word I’ve said, but my approach to poetry demands that I be true to my own philosophy - whatever it may be at the time. Further inspiration of what a Ghazal should be was supplied by this amazing poem by Aghad Shahid Ali, called Even the Rain.
In mitigation of my pessimistic theme, I leave you with a song by the British band, Mumford & Sons. It is called The Cave, and I was listening to it while doing my last check on the poem. The irony of the chorus had to make me smile:
But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as its called again...