Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Beauty of the ग़ज़ल

I know poetry doesn't belong here, but I will post it here nevertheless because I have nothing else to post today, and I am tired from slogging all day. This is a comment I made on poet David Israel's poem "Gazal for Modigliani." The Gazal is a beautiful Indo-Persian-Arabic poetic form that is difficult to adapt and David is doing his bit to popularize in the literary boards of which we are members.

"Seeing as how fond you are of the ghazal, I don't want to sound rude but ghazal is a form that is difficult to adapt in English, and am sure you are making great efforts to discover the true elements of this poetic form.

"See the Kaafiyaa and Radif scheme here:

"Say I sit a while for [radif] Modi [kaafiyaa]
not exactly smile for [radif] Modi [kaafiyaa]

"However in the ghazal the kaafiyaa should comes first and then the radif as in:

"aafat kii shoKhiyaa.N hai.n tumhaarii nigaah [kaafiyaa] mein [radif]
mehashar ke fitane khelate hai.n jalwa-gaah [kaafiyaa] mein [radif]

"So actually the first line should read something like this in Hindi:

"Baithi hun mai Modi keliye
Muskurahat liye Modi keliye

"Now translating this:

"Say I sit a while Modi in his service
Not exactly smile Modi in his service

"See how odd it sounds!

"However, I would urge you to keep experimenting and perfecting this poetic form. I am sure a way can be found.

However, David turned out to be right as this discussion on Shakespeare and Company will show.

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