Issue 20 – Clouds and Rain Special Issue
My headlights cut silver-thin clouds and rain,
Those nights I couldn’t sleep, sometimes I’d read
The only sounds, the breathing of tall trees,
In drought, afraid to shatter brittle air,
Do you believe in ghosts? I mean, the ones
Imagine how the world might be remade,
Old folks recount their lives gone dim, each
And I, scribbler of lines across a page,
Here it is: the results of the “clouds and rain” radif challenge. Thirteen ghazals came in response to the challenge; each of the thirteen merits publication, so here they are for your enjoyment.
The thing that struck me about these poems, after quality, is variety. Given that each ghazal uses the same radif, the thirteen vary widely (and successfully). I’m not going to make many comments here: read and reread the poems for yourself. From David Jalajel’s oratorio to Raindust’s use of the triplet sher introduced by Robert Bly, from very long lines (Joel Neubauer) to iambic pentameter (C W Hawes), from traditional themes and imagery (Sukhdarshan Dhaliwal and Majid Mohiuddin) to the context of the “cluds and rain” in Chinese Tradition (Mike Farman), to Roger Robison’s, Linda Papincalaou’s, and Esther Mürer’s more contemporary situating of the radif — there’s an amazing range of imagery, allusion, feeling, image, and rhythm.
Taylor Graham’s “Beginnings” leads on the home page for this issue because of its mythic, chthonic resonances. We humans live in mysteries that we rarely see; it takes poets to open our eyes.