HUNGRY GHOST (A Ghazal by Jeff Callaway)

The ghazal (Arabic/Persian/Urdu: غزل) is a poetic form with rhyming couplets and a refrain, each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in Arabic poetry in Arabia long before the birth of Islam. It is derived from the Arabian panegyric qasida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are similar in stringency to those of the Petrarchan sonnet. In style and content, it is a genre that has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central themes of love and separation.

The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century by the influence of Sufi mystics and the courts of the new Islamic sultanates. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Dari poetry and Urdu poetry, it is now found in the poetry of many languages on the Indian Subcontinent.

Ghazals were written by Rumi and Hafiz of Persia; the Azeri poet Fuzûlî in the Ottoman Empire; Mirza Ghalib and Muhammad Iqbal of North India; and Kazi Nazrul Islam of Bengal. Through the influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), the ghazal became very popular in Germany during the 19th century; the form was used extensively by Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866) and August von Platen (1796–1835). The Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali was a proponent of the form, both in English and in other languages; he edited a volume of “real Ghazals in English”. Ghazals were written by Moti Ram Bhatta (1866 – 1896), the pioneer for Ghazal writing in Nepali language.[1]

It is common in ghazals for the poet’s name (known as takhallus) to be featured in the last verse (a convention known as the maqta). (from Wikipedia)

Here is a ghazal written by, Texas Outlaw Poet,  Jeff Callaway, titled “Hungry Ghost.”



by Jeff Callaway


She was gone when I needed her the most

of all. My love it is a hungry ghost


to haunt the halls of my hearts home as I

fall. My lonesome call is a hungry ghost


song. She’s gone for real. And an appetite

that cannot be filled is a hungry ghost.


My heart is a black hole. My heart is burnt

toast. A neutron star is a hungry ghost.


She awoke deathwatch beetles in me for

spite. It’s not right. Night is a hungry ghost.


And so tonight I fly with my giant

white gossamer wings like a hungry ghost.


And so tonight I float a drunken boat

on a lone sea that is a hungry ghost.


Tonight I fight inside myself to hope

she might return to burn a hungry ghost.


I miss her the most. I miss her the most.

I miss her so much like a hungry ghost.


with a million dreams of her leaving me

alone in bone, I am a hungry ghost.


A hungry ghost. I am a hungry ghost.

Boo! Jeff Callaway is a hungry ghost.



©Jeff Callaway