WHY WOMEN SHOULD NOT WRITE GHAZALS

Melanie Rees

Catullus kept his Lesbia in the metre rhyme of linen
Rumi wrapped his ecstatic love in the fragrant robes of a ghazal 

But when I think of love, of him, of fire, I think mostly of skin
naked, uninhibited by the robes of a ghazal 

I’d write a sonnet, but the fabric of iambic pentameter too thin
To express my heart, I’d rather the robes of a ghazal 

But in this form I must name him — take a breath — begin
I can not - Too soon for the robes of a ghazal 

Women express better in free-verse, unrequited chagrin
I do not wish my flesh censored in the robes of a ghazal 

But Rumi speaks, inhale — fire-deep — within
My love, my Lee, I dress you in the robes of a ghazal

 

ON TURNING SIXTY

Melanie Rees

Dear friend
I did not know joie de vivre had an expiration date
that on turning sixty, I now should deny my heart 

Whilst I may be the age of hair dyes, varicose veins and plate
less filet mignon , more whole grain stews to subdue my heart 

I will not accept romantic love has only one season
Would you really advise I should not know my heart? 

Be content with twin-beds, drab monotone passion
when spring still sings a rainbow in my heart? 

And though my bones do creak and I’ve got crow’s feet
you’ll find I’ve the staccato beat of rebellion in my heart 

Now if you don’t mind, I’ll play the cards I’m dealt
tend your roses with scissors and spade, I’ll play my heart 

Dear friend 
though you do have the best recipe for low-fat soufflés
listen, when I say from the double-cream muscle that is my heart 

At sixty, I relish straightening bed-sheets after my mistakes
besides my dear Mellie your advice is like cholesterol for my hear