Analysis- Ghazal (poem) by Mimi Khalvati

An in depth analysis of the poem 'Ghazal'

(Power Point Presentation)

NOTE: Excuse error in slide 4, the quote;

If yours is the iron first in the velvet glove,

when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me”

should read;

"If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove,

when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me”

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  • Created by: Dannielle
  • Created on: 28-01-12 17:10
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Mimi Khalvati

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A ghazal is a poem with a fixed structure (much like a sonnet) usually written as
an expression of love or spirituality. It originates from ancient Arabic literature. A
ghazal consists of an opening and significant rhyming couplet followed by a body
of couplets and finally a closing rhyming couplet often referring to the poets
name in these last lines. The body of couplets must, in a significant, way relate
back to the first rhyming couplet.
Historically, ghazals would use metaphors for the beloved being addressed,
alluding them to God. As well as being spiritual, the ghazals often had an erotic
underlying nature.
"Ghazal" is written in the point of view of a lover whose beloved is
unattainable/out of reach.

Slide 3

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The poem is in first person, directly addressing an unknown person with whom the
poet wants relations.
"If I am the grass and you the breeze, blow through me.
If I am the rose and you the bird, then woo me"
This first couplet introduces the reader into the wants of the speaker. The speaker
shapes themselves into many forms in the poem, through this we see their willingness
to change to be with the person being addressed. Here, Khalvati relates the
relationship with nature. The imagery of wild grass in the breeze makes the
relationship seem like a natural occurrence. It also could suggest the speaker wishes
for a rough relationship, one that moves them like the grass would be shaken, or
plucked from their root like a rose would be by a bird. The phrase "woo me" proves
to be ironic, the speaker wishes for a return in affection and attention from the person
being addressed, but ultimately, it is the poet wooing the addressee with the poem.
This unrequited affection echo's throughout the poem.

Slide 4

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"If you are the rhyme and I the refrain, don't hang
On my lips, come and I'll come too when you cue me."
The poet continues her fantasy like relationship, describing the relationship she could
have with the beloved being addressed as poetry in which a harmony would form
between the two. Cleverly, Khalvati we see, does become the refrain in the poem, "me"
being repeated in nine out the ten stanza's. The fact that she uses "when you cue me"
reinforces the obedience she is willing to exercise with the person she is addressing.
If yours is the iron first in the velvet glove,
when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me"
The use of "iron first" here once again stresses the rigorous relationship Khalvati
wishes for. She softens this with the use of an antonym between iron first and velvet
glove, juxtaposing the images to convey the tough relationship with the soft one she
wants. The last line of this stanza, a conventional image of love alludes to cupid with
his flying arrows of love.

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"If mine is the venomous tongue, the serpent's tail,
Charmer, use your charm, weave a spell and subdue me"
The control over the poet that the person being addressed has is stressed in this
stanza. Khalvati relates herself to an animal, indirectly reflecting on the primitive
nature of her passion. The word "subdue" acknowledges the uncontrollable
passion the speaker has.
"If I am the laurel lead in your crown, you are
The arms around my bark, arms that never knew me"

Slide 6

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"Oh would that I were bark! So old and still in leaf.
And you, dropping in my shade, dew to bedew me!"
"What shape should I take to marry your own, have you
-hawk to my shadow, moth to my flame- pursue me?"

Slide 7

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good stuff :) but i dont think its finished? :P

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