Restricted Souls

Lonely Desert Tunnel

Restricted Souls

A procession of mules to his eminent domain is
a revolutionary reverie to restrict them all.

His abode always has been the outcast plane;
A hellish domain meaning to restrict souls of all.

‘Tis an archane desolation fogenshrouded by his
medieval alchemy that control’s the souls of all.

Sonic booms, over his orthodox solitude
shake up his sermon as he restricts us all.

Vertical transition. Instantaneous cadence
of a pious man who’s soul must restrict all.

Currency is worthless next to liver or spleen.
Bribes never pass on his plate: he restricts it all.

He sees through diamonds, worn by all.
Hide your gems, lest his soul restrict all.


Written for:

 D’verse Poets Pub.

John Alwyine-Mosley challenged the poets  to write a Ghazal. Please go to the link to learn more about this form.

People seemed to have stopped giving real critiques and are back to saying how much they liked things. I don’t learn anything from just compliments. Please, people who hate this, tell me why. People who actually do like it, how can it be improved.

Photo credit goes to me. It’s a tunnel just north of Tehachapi, CA.

Posted on The Thursday Think Tank #57 – Loneliness

About zongrik

For those of you who do not know the handle "zongrik," that would be Bat-Ami Gordin. Most people call me "Tammy." Bat-Ami means "daughter of my nation" in Hebrew. It's a heavy name to carry around. I answer to either name. I also answer to "mama." Some Basic Things about me: Animal lover, mom, poet/writer, dramatic soprano, photographer, teacher/tutor, CERT/Technician and, oh yeah, aerospace engineer. I consider myself "The Astro-Poet." To learn more about the origins of the word "zongrik" see whats-a-zongrik?

Posted on August 12, 2011, in D’verse Poets Pub, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hi Tommy –
    John is coming by to talk in depth about form as he has the time.

    I’ll be happy to take a stab at the critique in detail. I am new to it as well, and am just learning. I think you have taken a character and placed at the center of your poem an angry yet pious man. Your words are very particular and have strong associations. Your work is intelligent, strong, passionate and interesting.

    I think you are playing with “eminent domain” as it is legal language for the government taking or confiscating land for its own use. Of course one can consider what is “pre”eminent there. You write of this character and he is known through the diverse and cultural imagery.

    However as a Ghazal I think you miss here.

    To begin with you don’t have a refrain line as part of your couplets. I have seen them in both orders today, (first line and second line) but I think they are meant to be the second line. I believe this refrain becomes the explicated lines and have a spiritual connection as say do the words “Kyrie Eleison” – or – “My help is in my God” or something of that sort; however, I believe one can have words with more than one meaning in that refrain and explore their various meanings or usages and still meet the requirements of a ghazal.

    Actually you do show us a prism (which is a way I have been looking at these refrains) of the man’s aspects; however you don’t do it by way of repeating a word or phrase.

    Also you enjamb your lines. Each one continues on in a linear fashion. I believe the lines should be somewhat random as though thrown into the air and landing in whatever order.

    While there is passion in your character and probably a longing for peace or being “left alone”, that isn’t accented by use of refrain.

    And what seems to be the hallmark at the end, where you should personally insert yourself my means of your name or a personal pronoun (I or me) to bring it to personally that is lacking in your piece.

    I think to explore this topic would require a little more distance from this particular character and more exploration of what you see in him as symbol. Then using that symbol in repetition and bringing it to you and your convictions in the end making it more a poem of longing.

    I am happy to give in depth critique as I think I can, and will gladly if it’s approved; however, there are many delicate flowers and as we are not sitting together at a table with kind voices and helpful tones, we all worry we may be the cause of someone either abandoning his/her poetry writing or finding us too harsh and our objective is to provide a forum and be supportive. I think you will find that John’s critique is kind but adheres to a model he has chosen to give information about the form. Also Luke and his associates who work with Critique are far more in depth than the comments for the other days.

    I also think if you will read with generosity the poems posted here today,you’ll agree that most of them (nearly all) were deserving of praise. Not sure of my own…this is my first in the form and I am learning too. However I studied the article well and I am now on something like my 40th Ghazal and feel I have a few words under my belt now.

    I appreciate your asking for frank criticism for that’s what I want for my own works as well and I believe it’s a sure way to improve. Thank you very much for writing and linking with us today. Gay

  2. I have never been a stickler of rules.. hence, offering critique with respect to the poetry form itself would be too much of an ask for me 🙂
    But as far as the tone of the poem is concerned, I must say I appreciate the way you have personified this “chamber of secrets” sorta.. there were places where I had gotten thinking about the real subject of the poem.. but then again, it IS a poem.. and can be read and interpreted in many different ways.. sometimes, I saw a man who was ostracized, sometimes I saw an honest one intimidated by none, and sometimes I saw someone who chose to be recluse…

    All in all, the poem kept me hooked.. it was like a multifaceted puzzle, and I really like poems like that, where you are forced to question your assumptions..

  3. Hi, my feedback is based on these five factors starting from a traditional perspective but also looking at modern developments. I draw on Agha Shahid Ali’s, chapter from An Exaltation of forms (Ed Finch and Varnes). This is a poem of his based on the traditional rules.

    I’m only commenting on the use of the form so other then a gentle nod to content I keep away from a detailed critique. Partly because 40 critique essays on content is beyond the call of duty! And because as Gay says not everyone is able or willing to engage in a detailed workshop critique. Even here on Form Friday when the assumption is that you will get feedback, some people have bristled. Nor is this appropriate as most forums are about showcasing and getting positive strokes for something that works – not discovering that the beautiful masterpiece in their head is full of clichés, abstractions, clumsy sonics etc in the reader’s one. Now, this may well slow their artistic growth but if not handled gently it will stop them dead in their tracks as Gay says.

    It is argued that to master any creative process takes 10,000 hours of practice, a mentor to guide and openness to learn. So think how many poems a day, with revisions this needs before the craft’s basics are learned especially if no mentor. If working, many only have a few hours a week to write and do it for fun and to meet fellow scribblers so why get a “bashing” when you haven’t asked for it. Now you have asked but again many don’t want to do a critique or lack the skills to do one – not everyone has studied poetry. You therefore may want to try this online workshop site:

    Take your time to read the rules – you do three detailed critiques of other poets work for each post of yours. They have detailed guidance of how to do a critique but read the others to get a feel of the detail needed. But be warned, it is not gentle but you will get honest detailed opinions from often very informed readers, which you will accept with grace and politeness or get thrown out of the workshop! How you use it is however down to your artistic judgement. Now back to your poem.

    1) Association
    One of the key factors of the form – traditional or modern is that the couplets need to be based as it were on variations on a theme. And stand alone as the order should not matter. These are standalone if condensed opaque lines.

    2) Theme
    The first couplet usually sets out the theme of the poem, which appears to be about exploring a critique of the harm that organised/institutional religion does. So in a sense it could be about a yearning for a freedom but this is not made explicit.

    3) Couplets
    A set of couplets but many of them have enjambment Some enjambment occurs in the modern forms but as the exception in the poem rather than the norm. You don’t refer or hint at the narrator/writer in the last couplet/two lines.

    4) Rhyme and refrain
    In the classical tradition, the opening couplet would set the refrain and internal rhyme in the first and second line. Then in the rest of the couplets the refrain and internal rhyme would be on the second line. You use a consistent refrain word but no internal rhyme

    5) Metre
    Not too sure of the strategy here as the beat count varied over the couplets.

    In short, it has some traditional features of the ghazal but lacks the associational, dervish whirl of the form

  4. Like Kavita…I’m not a stickler. I love the subject and your treatment of it. If I’m not mistaken, you’re in Israel, and this has all the feeling of that holy place and the atmosphere of a Ghazal.

    • I’m not in Israel. I’m in the Mojave Desert. This was written about someone in the Sonora Desert.

      I found writing the Ghazal really difficult. Thanks for saying I seem to get the atmosphere of that form I tried. It was very foreign to me.

  5. Ha! Well I can surely relate to the Mojave as I drive up and down 395 several times a year between Reno and Palm Desert. :0) I wonder who I have confused you with?

  6. I tried this challenge, so I’m full of admiration for your achievement. I got nowhere near it. Well done.

  7. Wow,very good write,Tammy makes me feel like i`m there.

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