Four English Ghazals

Anannya Dasgupta


I will return as a guest today

to offer myself my best today.

Dust off the carpet, set out the

china, spruce up the nest today.

The wine in that bottle has long

since turned, empty the rest today.

It is easy enough to die for love

I am here at life’s behest today.

If helpless pain urges the ghazal

I will let mine fail the test today.

Too blue to love

It was easy when we were new to love

It was ourselves that we grew to love

There were no impediments we’d admit,

from hell and high water we flew to love

Every strain that pulled against us, we’d

push back, adversity was like glue to love

Then the day unseasonably it turned too

cold, you said that I was too blue to love

You were the one, I was not other, but

split so in two I had no more clue to love.


Daily, painstakingly, I prepare the mask

If you still find me out, spare the mask.

It is not so much to hide but hold out a

face that both you and I wear the mask.

Not unlike yours, my faces too dwell

on stories greyer than gayer the mask.

Days, weeks, months and unfailing years

are sheaths of time that layer the mask.

Weathered, ravaged and quite undone but

This time, not other, will repair the mask.


I thrill electric when you sing to words           

I collect the music you bring to words.

I am fearful of stillness, afraid of silence

To keep from being lost, I cling to words.

Fraught and dismayed by the unjust world

Sharpen blood for ink to add sting to words.

The plaintiff call of the heartbroken koel

speaks of grief without coming to words.

A wordsmith unworded, quite unlike another

I offer you this wound now opening to words.

Read ‘The Cry of the Gazellle: The English Ghazal in Rhymes & Refrains’, a short essay by Anannya Dasgupta on the difficulties of the English Ghazal. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Anannya Dasgupta is a photographer and a poet who is always looking for words and images that are equal to the real and imaginary experiences that make up life. For three years now she has been running a blog called “Daily Riyaaz” every April for the poem-a-day challenge where she encourages her fellow participating poets to write more ghazals. These ghazals were written during last year’s “Daily Riyaaz.” She is also an Assistant Professor of English at Shiv Nadar University.


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