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Video Poem: Mortal Ghazal


Mortal Ghazal: a video poem by Luisa A. Igloria and Swoon.

Mortal Ghazal

My friend sent me a lei of strawflowers from the city of our childhood:
brittle corollas of yellow undercut by orange that we called Everlasting.

I remember the slides in the park, and the kiddy train one summer: it looped around its
periphery, a blur of red and orange. Just a few minutes, but the ride seemed everlasting.

And women from the hills, their baskets filled with dried snipe, amulets, herbs;
their woven skirts striped vivid orange (the sound of their voices everlasting)—

In that world, everything seemed possible; in that world, time seemed almost too slow.
Now I’m brought up short in the shoals as the sun reddens in the sky, unrelenting—

At sunrise, two birds call—heraldic, but fleeting. Such tender things in the world;
smudged with blue, capped with little streaks of rust. Glyphs from the everlasting.

Tell me I haven’t done too little, that I’ve made some difference to you;
even if in the end I might be judged wanting, unhinged: mortal, not everlasting.

—Luisa A. Igloria

Photo by Nandadevieast, Creative Commons, via Flickr. Check out more on Mortal Ghazal, by Luisa A. Igloria, here.

Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Donna says:

    Amazing. I have watched, listend, and read this several times… in so many ways this is so rich.

    • L.L. Barkat says:

      Agreed, Donna :)

      Part of it is the language. So crisp, even as it makes us drift back in time.

      I love how this ghazal deals with issues of time and existence—kind of like the traditional ghazal form that can sometimes deal with metaphysical questions.

      • Donna says:

        Even the colors she uses, in the order she uses them, seem to bring on the sunsset. And, in parallel to that, I was thinking about the yellow to orange to red… and then the glyphs… how it seems to move with spirit…


  1. Ghazal Poetry: How to Write a Ghazal & Playlist! | - November 19, 2013

    […] questions. But, today, the ghazal has broadened to touch many types of longing and loss, as in the friendship poem “Mortal Ghazal,” by Luisa A. […]

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