Doha

The frost hits late; a hard bright scattering of crushed stars;
A white fallen sky, lit by daffodil suns.

A slow-waking winter, gripped with sudden jealousy
Snatches back the earth from spring’s warm, outstretched hand.

I could rail, resentful, against this cold selfishness;
Point to all I have endured, hoped for, dreamed of.

Yet with this day’s unlooked-for sting comes a clarity:
A sharper sense of all that is, and might be.

 

Doha is an Indian metrical poetic form, with each stanza consisting of two lines, the first with 13 syllables and the second with 11.  In Hindi, there are specific stress patterns within the lines, but these are pretty much impossible to replicate in English. A true doha should also be a rhyming couplet, which I managed by the time I got to the fourth one! N.

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6 thoughts on “Doha

  1. Ah, you are a poet, you are. “A white fallen sky, lit by daffodil suns.” What a line! But better still is the culmination in the poem, the turn where you go from the large metaphor of “selfishness,” which has a human dimension, brewing up the double meaning in the poem, to the idea of clarity out of “this day’s unlooked-for sting.” We get the idea of both early spring as well as the human dimension, the sting leading to “A sharper sense of all that is, and might be.” I also, of course, appreciate the technical mastery of the Doha. I have never heard of this form, but in one try you have mastered it. You are a poet, you are. Gone Cycling Again indeed!

    • I must confess I’ve been wondering exactly what (and indeed who) I am recently, Tom, so this is incredibly affirming – thank you. I should also admit that I actually set out to write something entirely different, and happened across this rather esoteric form entirely by chance! As you know, I like the discipline of formal verse, and this is one I can see myself returning to. N.

      • I am totally lost in retirement, Nick. I can’t stir myself to even comment on much poetry these days. I neglect you too much. You are such a good poet. I admire your work and you personally. I submitted the Dragon Epic to Bennison Press. I will be surprised if they decide to publish it, although I believe it should be published, but if they would happen to take it on Ethel and I may come to England for the book launch. I’d hope to meet you then, although it’s unlikely I suspect to happen.

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