Adieu, the Night.

Your chimes charm and your calls keep me up through the night,
I yearn for your glow, a flower stretching to view the night.

As a moth mesmerized to the flames that consume its soul,
The pointer from my heart is immutable | and to you I flew the night.

It is an addiction, every moment, I need to be plugged in, with you,
A mutex lock on my heart, I am weak, you subdue the night.

Separated by a screen, it is hard to for me to speak my heart,
With this intoxication, loss of memory, I hope to renew the night.

But there is no equilibrium here, and you encrypt my words, meanings,
I am naive to your manipulations, I thought I knew the night.

I am a singleton, restricted to only you, but your dynamic type means
through the hearts of many you will pass through the night.

Without you, I have no meaning, I am the null set, empty, restless,
You gave me the hope in darkness to break through the night.

Alas, this love is an intractable NP-hard problem that I cannot solve,
Since this love #includes no Joy, I can only say adieu, the night.


Throughout this ghazal, I am playing with the imagery of the traditional Persian love poetry with today’s themes of technology and computer science. The allusions to all of the different concepts enhances the level of obscurity by making it difficult to understand the references. This draws interesting parallels between the unrequited love with the fervent need for technology by modern society. In the background, I am using Muse’s Exogenesis Symphony, which also combines traditional Western classical music with more current electronic music.

The poem follows the ghazal patterns with the radif of “*oo the night” where the qafiya is “night”. This is inspired by Aga Shahid Ali’s poem “Tonight”, where unlike other ghazals in English, it employs both a qafiya of “tonight” as well as the proceeding rhyming syllable in the radif “*ell tonight.” I chose night as the repeating word because night is often associated with uncertainty but also promise, despair, but also the light of love.

The first and second couplets use nature imagery to talk about the mesmerization the persona has for her love. The first couplet talks about a flower reaching its face into the light, a generally nurturing relationship, but it replaces “light” with “night”, creating a dark tension that is accentuated by the distracting need for an electronic glow, a desire the persona cannot control. The second couplet brings up the common imagery of the moth being drawn to the flame in a self-sacrificial manner. The persona knows that the result will harmful to herself, but cannot change the course of her heart.

The third couplet talks about addiction, which in traditional ghazal imagery consists of a love that makes the persona feel powerless, feel week. Adapted to modern concepts, this brings out the idea of needing to be “plugged in” at all times and the increasing reliance on technology, as if it has entrapped the soul.

The fourth and fifth couplet deal with different aspects of the difficulty in communication. The fourth brings up the concept of a “screen” which is both alluding to the veil in traditional ghazals as well as the newer computer screen. The intoxication is also another common theme, and in this case is associated with loss of memory, a more technological concept in addition to its colloquial meaning. The fifth couplet talks about manipulations and encryptions, showing how often the elusive lover will obfuscate the information to obtain what they want, leaving the persona restless and fearful.

The next couplet talks about the other common theme of the flirtatious lover like the nightingale in Hafiz’s poems who floats between one love and the next, equated with concepts in computer science that illustrate quickly changing definitions.

The final two couplets talk more about despair and emptiness, also a theme that arises from the poetry of Rumi along with other Persian poets. The penultimate couplet talks about how the love generates meaning for the individual, creating a dependency on the lover for their own meaning and identity. Without the lover, the persona is empty, which also has religious significance within the Sufi mystic ideology of being an empty vessel, a precursor to destroying all distinctions to truly experience life. The eighth couplet points to fatality, giving up this impossible quest, balancing between fate and free-will.

At the end, the poem is signed with my tallkus of “Joy” used both as a proper and common noun  included in the sentiment of the last line, which also becomes the title of the poem.

I feel this style of poem best exhibits the concept of the cultural studies approach, because I incorporate both the traditional structure and themes of the ghazal while also bringing in some of my own personal context, to create a new, personal interpretation.

I hope you enjoy it!

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