Ghazal by Mimi Khalvati

About the poet: 

  • Born in Iran but spent childhood in the UK
  • Very well educated
  • Founder of Poetry School in London
  • Her themes: femenism, love, forgotten invisible voice, multicultural perspective, Islam

Structure and form:

  • Ghazal is an actual form (arabic for prayer - title suggests it her prayer for him to love her) (6th century) (Islamic Mysticism) 
  • Written in rhymning couplet involving a refrain 
  • each line has the same meter (12 beats with iambic hextameter)
  • each couplet is a singlular thought or image, just listed 
  • each stanza is self contained - new image in each stanza to describe love
  • seperated into couplets


  • adress a mortal beloved (someone they love in real life) (perspective of the unrequieted lover)
  • unatainable love, divine love


If I am the grass and you are the breeze, blow through me.

If I am the rose and you the bird, then woo me. 

  • 'breeze' - he energises her, abstract, moving, inconsistent, the man seems to be freer/ beath of God
  • 'breeze, blow' - alliteration 
  • first line there is a lot of natural imagry 
  • 'grass' and 'rose' - in ground, fixed constant, noun, can't move. 'rose' is a symbol of love.
  • 'breeze' 'bird' - he comes to her, rose needs birds to stay alive (polonate) so the power is with the man
  • 'then woo me' - claim her, she wants him to pursue her romantically, she longs for him 
  • she keeps refering to herself as an organic image but the man as more an abstract image.
  • 'if' - conditional, there's no relationship

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 language of a poem is used in the first line 
  • rhyme comes first in poetry, just like the man
  • rhymn and refrain compliment each other in a poem, like relationship. yet they are opposite.
  • links to how a Ghazal is formed
  • 'refrain' - what the reader comes back to
  • 'when you cue me' - power and direction. difficult to see equality with this relationship/ God controlling her 
  • 'on my lips' - miscue, doesn't know what to say, nees man to tell her what to say to cue her

If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove

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

  • first line is almost an oxymoronic statement
  • 'iron fist' - powerful, menace, defiance, man could be cold hearted because of the unrequited love
  • 'velvet glove' - smooth, gentle, him to hold the strenght and to conduct the relationship, touch of sensitivity, femeninity
  • 'arrow flies' 'tattoo me' - physical marks or internal


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