The Ghazal (pronounced Guzzle) is an Arabic form that consists of rhyming couplets. It typically deals with the pain of love (especially lost love) combined with the beauty of love. The Persian form which derives from the older Arabic form deviates considerably. Generally when the Ghazal is described it is the Persian form that is used. Goethe introduced the form to the Western world which became transmuted into the Bastard Ghazal
Form Type:
Number of Lines:
Rhyme Scheme:
AA, bA, cA, etc
Not Applicable
Persian Ghazal
There are a number of rules to observe in a fully formed Persian Ghazal, though some may be omitted. They are:
1. The poem must consist of 5 or more couplets, known as sher or bayt unto a maximum of 25 couplets.
2. The second line of each sher usually ends with a radif which is a repeated word or phrase, this may however be omitted.
3. Before the radif or at the end of the sher if the radif is not present is a rhyme known as the qaafiyaa.
4. Each line and each couplet must have the same meter beher. Although this restriction is relaxed in modern Urdu Gazals.
5. Each couplet must be complete within itself, there is no enjambment across couplets.
6. Each sher should be a closed poem in its own right, however there may be a continuity of theme or thought running through them. In this case the poem is known as a musalsal ghazal (continuous ghazal).
7. The final sher is called the maqta it is usual for the writer to include their takhallus name or pen name in this sher. However this is relaxed in some modern Ghazals.
8. Normal practice is to keep the number of Shers odd.
Arabic Ghazal
The older Arabic form of the Ghazal differs slightly with its rules. They are:
1. It is traditional not to split the Sher into a couplet, but to keep it as a bayt (long line). However it can still be rendered as a couplet.
2. Each line must share the same meter. The line must divide naturally into two hemistiches (halves) with a caesura in the middle. The caesura must occur metrically and may appear in the middle of a word. The author decides how visible the caesura should be.
3. The length of a hemistiches must be between trimeter and heptameter. If using a accentual or accentual-syllabic meter you will have between three and seven beats. If using syllabic meter then the hemistiches should be between six and fourteen syllables long. If totally free style then the lines should look evenly balanced.
4. Monorhyme is employed for each line of the poem.
5. While Slant Rhyme can be used it should not be so subtle as to lose the effect of rhyme which is vital to this form.
6. Using the same rhyming word should be avoided unless there is a very good reason for it.
7. Complete Autonomy within a line is not as important as in the Persian forn. Some enjambment between lines is allowed, but this should not be too radical.
8. The first line rhymes the syllable before the caesura with the syllable ending the line. All other lines rhyme on the final syllable.
9. Stanza breaks are not required and may be used when the writer feels it is appropriate.

These were the total initial specifications when I wrote Your Love.

A Ghazal is a poem that is made up like an odd numbered chain of couplets,

where each couplet is an independent poem.
It should be natural to put a comma at the end of the first line.
The Ghazal has a refrain of one to three words that repeat,
and an inline rhyme that precedes the refrain.
Lines 1 and 2, then every second line has this refrain
and inline rhyme, and the last couplet should refer to the
authors pen-name… The rhyming scheme is Aa bA cA dA eA etc.

How to write a Ghazal’
1. Layout a template with a minimum of five couplets of identical length. Each couplet is two lines so the minimum poem length is 10 lines.

2. Each couplet should be able to stand alone, as if it were its own poem.

3. Select an ending word that will end the first two lines, the word as perhaps part of a short phrase will become a refrain for the second line of all following stanzas.

4. Choose a word to precede that phrase, that can easily and sensibly be rhymed in all even numbered lines, in the same position.

5. If you are the extroverted type you may insert your name in the first line of the final couplet and/or provide a “turn” to the poem at this point.

Example Poem
Your Love   (Ghazal)

I  spent youth’s dawn just searching for your love;
no idealist, it need not be pure love.

An Idealist in every other way
I wanted shared devotion from your love.

I tried other girls as I searched for you,
but none did cleave so well until your love.

Your mind captured my mind, your body sang
to  mine. I  was fulfilled by your love.

I let unimportant matters intrude!
Lawrencealot, neglect cost you your love!

(c) Lawrencealot – April 5, 2012

Visual Template