The Ghazal Form

The al Mavlavi compilation of the Dîvân-i Kebir

contains 3,327 ghazals.

The ghazal is a longer form of lyric love poem dating back to 7th century Arabic poetry. The theme of this form is often the pain of separation. Each verse is a couplet of the same poetic meter, with a rhyme scheme of AA, BA, CA, DA and so on. The couplets of each ghazal fit under the umbrella of one theme, but each couplet is independent in meaning, and the connection to the other couplets is sometimes obscure. The final couplet includes the author’s penname. In Rumi’s Dîvân, Rumi often ends with the mention of Shams of Tabriz, thereby attributing authorship to him.

Ghazal 46

Dîvân-i Kebir, Volume 20, Pages 94-95

When my soul becomes a mirror to secrets,

I can stay silent,

but at the same time, I cannot help but to know them.

I run away from flesh.

I am frightened by my soul.

But, I swear, I don’t belong to either of them.

O, the one who wants to smell my fragrance must die first.

Don’t look for me when you are alive.

I am not as I appear to you.

I may look bent, but listen to my straight talk.

I may look like a bow, but my talk is an arrow.

This head seems like a pumpkin.

This short cloak is my body.

Whom do I look like in this bazaar called Earth?

Whom do I look like?

Even if I am only a drop from Him,

with the power of God,

I harvest pearls from the sea with that drop.

When the cloud of my eyes grabs the pearls of this sea,

it will fly through the sky of loyalty.

Until flowers grow from my tongue,

I won’t be able to take them

to the door of God’s Shams.