“Even the Rain” by Agha Shahid Ali, Call Me Ishmael Tonight: A Book of Ghazals by Agha Shahid Ali, Ghazal poetic form, Kashmiri-American Poet Agha Shahid Ali, Purple Rain by American Photographer Adam Rose, Symbolism of Rain
Purple Rain – California Collection – 11 x 14 matted
Adam Rose Photography
My Poetry Corner June 2015 features the poem “Even the Rain” by Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001). This poem is part of his final poetry collection, Call Me Ishmael Tonight: A Book of Ghazals, published posthumously in 2003, following his death from brain cancer in December 2001.
The ghazal, a Persian poetic form, is five or more thematically unrelated couplets connected through rhyme and repetition. The opening couplet sets up the scheme of rhyme and refrain by having it occur in both lines. The rhyme immediately precedes the refrain. In the following couplets, this scheme of rhyme and refrain only occurs in the second line. The last couplet names the poet directly in the second or third person.
Ali’s opening couplet in “Even the Rain” sets up the refrain, even the rain, and the rhyme (preceding the refrain) knot and bought for the following twelve couplets.
What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.
Ali’s first thought is the grief of a lost love. As he shared in an interview: “At a personal level the rain brings so much memory back to me, especially of some very important love relationships I have had.”