We sat, stilled, your aura all that shined through Gaia;
we snatched at the light, once given now taken — quicksilver.
We wanted to imagine stars mapped inside shiny scallop shells,
trade Venus for the light that had lost its source in Athena's storm.
We wished the sun's cast of Hades booted from our memory
and a squiggle of moon's light to shadow our quiet remembering.
We waited for Apollo's signal, his streak in the sky the end
and the light in our eyes to hold your going, sweetly, softly.
If we could feel how Aurora, even now paling, might warm our skins,
we could store light deep, among myrtle wreaths, heart's own guide.
We woke with the hawk's cry rising, clouds clearing, roe deer
then discovered too late how the light withheld brings rain.
But for the slant and the slipping through of shades let down
we never would recall the way light fell on your brow that morning.
We watched the alchemy — electricity through Mercury, fluoresce,
and spelled the fire of Hephaestus cooled, the light run through
the flame, expired.
If not for the glare of regret, the stinging crook of loss Ares carried
on dulled spear,
we would fault the light dressing us down, before the darkness
© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas
This is my first attempt to write a contemporary Ghazal, which, as this thorough post indicates, is "experimental with the 'what and where' of rhymes and refrains", and does not have a "formal signature couplet" but does "keep to single line couplets, pay attention to cadence and [is] associational." (Column width here forces some of my longer lines to spill over.) I've taken liberties and will leave it to you to judge how well my poem meets the form's description given here. I do intend to try the more traditional and formally structured form.
My audio recording of this poem:
Audio Recording of Fault the Light ~ A Contemporary Ghazal by mdoallas