poem index

Ghazal: In Silence

Mimi Khalvati

Let them be, the battles you fought, in silence.
Bury your shame, the worst you thought, in silence.

At last my Beloved has haggled with death.
'One more day' was the pearl she bought in silence.

At night she heard the blacksmith hammering chains,
at dawn the saw, the fretwork wrought in silence.

'The only wrong I've done is to live too long,'
my Beloved's eyes tell the court in silence.

She's as young as the month of Ordibehesht,
month of my birth, spring's mid-leap caught in silence.

My Beloved, under the shade of a palm,
was the girl, the mother I sought in silence.

Loneliness is innumerate. Days slip by,
suns rise that daylight moons distort in silence.

The bell on her wrist was silent, her fingers
ice cold as the julep she brought in silence.

'Mimijune! Mimijune!' My Beloved's voice
climbs three steep notes for tears to thwart in silence.

Three syllables of equal weight, equal stress,
dropped in a well, keep falling short in silence.


About this poem:
"I wrote this poem as an elegy for my mother who died suddenly at the age of 92, after a night and a day in hospital. Living in England, I had been separated from her since childhood, but after the Iranian revolution my mother left Iran and settled in London, where we became very close. This is the first ghazal in which I have tried to observe, along with the requisite rhyme and refrain (qafia and radif), the disjunctive nature of the couplets. The suffix june/jan is commonly used as a term of endearment in Farsi, meaning dear, dearest, darling, but also life or soul."

Mimi Khalvati

Copyright © 2013 by Mimi Khalvati. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 6, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Mimi Khalvati