When a form is not a form?
(or vice versa)
The ghazal (You should look it up) is a middle-eastern form. In essence a ghazal is a series of five to fifteen two-line poems. There’s rhyme, and there is a repeated phrase.
There are a lot of rules. It’s hard to do one well.
We aren’t going to write ghazal today.
We’re going to write something like it/them.
Look around you. What catches your eye? Give it a word, noun or verb.
Write two lines–roughly equal lines, let’s say somewhere between 7 and 16 syllables each—and use that word in one of the lines. Your couplet can be beautiful, funny, complaining, pedestrian. No matter. But play with it for a few minutes after you get it down, and try to make it a small poem**.
**Prose writers can think of this as a short paragraph. Self-contained.
Now, write another. No relation to the first, except for the use of that word. And try to keep near to the same line length.
Think of another use for your word, another angle. Write another couplet, but try to change your tone this time. Go dark if you’ve been light. Maybe get silly.
Just keep messing around. Fool with your word. Write two-liners until you run out of steam.
Pick the best. (Try for at least five. That’s ten lines. You can do that.)
Shuffle them around until you like the arrangement.
Come up with a title, and that’s your poem**.