Ghazal of the Two Witches

He can name the date and place of the spell; which of us won
was nowhere on his mind, only that he fell. Which of us won?

Your work is distinctive, hungry and lean, it lopes unhinged
with a spring of folly, with a sheen of hell. Which of us won?

My work is subtle, scientific; I remember weaving over a mile
of acetate, each song seeping under his shell. Which of us won?

I confess they impressed me, your wild bindings (pine needles
in his knees), the acts only you could compel. Which of us won?

I brought him painted deserts, enchanted canyons, the warmth
of strangers no midwestern winter could dispel. Which of us won?

Care was a potion neither of us had mastered but I managed
a tincture that tempered your infernal swell. Which of us won?

Now, when we sometimes wonder that his touch upon a string
is enough to stir us, can anyone even tell which of us won?

Sister, if we consider the possibility that there was from the start
a third force at work, do we not know full well which of us won?

TwoCirces

……

With thanks to Robert Okaji, whose enthusiasm for the ghazal form finally got under my skin.
……
And apologies to Franz Von Stuck for my manipulation of his painting Tilla Durieux as Circe (ca. 1913).

24 thoughts on “Ghazal of the Two Witches

  1. Excellent piece. These are my favorites:

    “Your work is distinctive, hungry and lean, it lopes unhinged
    with a spring of folly”

    “I confess they impressed me, your wild bindings (pine needles
    in his knees)”

    It’s all fabulous though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! It’s interesting because I’ve listened to ghazals in their musical form for much of my life, and never had a clue that people have been applying it to poetry in other languages. I plan to make a more serious study of a lot of regulated verse forms; peculiar things happen when I try to follow rules. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Originally, in ancient Japan, they used to sing tanka poems, but I’m not sure if they accompanied the singer with musical instruments or not. On the radio yesterday, I was listening to some snippets from a poetry and rhythm festival. It was fascinating listening to poetry read to a background rhythm, as it added a new dimension to what was being said.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope to see that when you do! I thought perhaps that I would try it once and find it sufficient but it doesn’t seem to be letting go so easily. Half the words popping into my head right now make me say “Hey, that would make a great radif…” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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