The Music Challenge Issue
It has taken longer to prepare and publish the results of the music challenge than I’d anticipated. Thank you to the poets and readers for their patience! There are nearly two dozen poems here, varied in tone, image, style, approach, but all ghazals. Despite the time it has taken, I have enjoyed compiling this issue. I hope you enjoy reading it.
I’ve expressed my pleasure in this group of poems on the indexes for 2012 and the special isues. Twenty-three poems are too many to comment on individually and selecting only a few for comment wouldn’t be fair to the rest. So the best remark I can make here is, “Read these poems; read them aloud for best effect. Roll them on your imagination’s tongue to savor them.” In laying out these pages, I’ve tried to group and sequence the poems by some affinity among them. While I wouldn’t want to explain all my choices, there are reasons for the groupings and order of these ghazals. Perhaps keeping that in mind as you read will increase your pleasure.
And music is neither food nor famine. Appetite is
But then there’s excess – oh, and then there is music. For as excess
But how can music be appetite? Just as appetite
For whom music is appetite, words might be
And if music is their appetite, then its cadence falls twice: once
And if its cadence falls twice, then the lover falls twice,
But where there is loathing, music is fantastical.
When the lover utters words, loathing utters them as well;
When a lover is fantastical without music,
To say the lover sings is to say there might be a lover
If the lover sings, it follows that the cadence falls twice: first
If music’s beginning is food in fancy, and fancy also famine, and
Before music, there is no appetite, nor anything of food
When music does not strain, what then
When the lover does not loathe, loathing cannot surfeit; and
When the lover is fantastical without music,
There’s no return of appetite, nor of food, nor of famine. So let
It is wrong to say: “music and the lover are one.”
If music were the lover, it would follow
But if we see music and the lover as twain, there could
But again, if we do not see them as one
The music by which the lover is made cannot coax the lover to sing.
Music by which the lover is unmade cannot coax the lover to sing,
The lover who does not sing is, to music, as one
One who both loves and loathes utters words