Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Urjuzah Poetry Form

It’s been a while since I’ve done a form here so I think we’re due, don’t you?

The Urjuza is an Arabic verse form, consisting of rhyming couplets done in the rajaz metre. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Except, the rajaz metre is made with lines that are 24 syllables long, divided into two groups of 12 syllables with a caesura, or break, between them.

The verse focuses more on the details of content leaving the poem "devoid of stylistic elegance and poetic beauty". The poem served several functions, for example camel drivers’ songs (known as al-ḥidā ), was utilized for verbal display, and other types of didactic and even obscene poetry.

The Urjuza is:
Written in any number of couplets.
Monorhymed or written in rhymed couplets - either aa aa aa etc. or aa bb cc etc .
Written in rajaz meter, which calls for lines of 24 syllables with a caesura at 12 syllables

Once of the sources I checked referenced the UK band, Camel (70s progressive rock), who made an album called Rajaz. They had a very eloquent description of the Rajaz metre:

The music of poets once carried caravans across the great deserts.

Sung in a simple metre of the animal's footsteps, it transfixed weary travellers on their sole objective... journey's end.

The poetry is called 'rajaz'. It is the rhythm of the camel.

You can check out their Rajaz site HERE.

I freely admit my example isn’t a brand new one, I wrote it many years ago. I recall enjoying writing in this form though, I mean other than having to come up with 24 syllables per line all I had to worry about was the rhyming of the couplets.

Unfortunately, my HTML skills have kind of atrophied from lack of use and I was not able to indent the second part of each line without changing the html coding for the whole blog, and I didn’t think it was worth the trouble for one poem. So you’ll have to use your imaginations for the formatting. Basically, the second part of each line should be indented. :-D

A desert wind blows across the skin of my dreams,
winding its way across dunes of lost words and deeds.
A desert sun sets fire to my imagination,
burning away reality until it bleeds.

A desert day can burn itself into your mind,
until you no longer see what the pen has wrought.
A desert rain can sweep the landscape of changes,
dark words scudding across the sky in clouds of thought.

A desert night will cool the burning of the soul,
with sibilant whispers of things that could not be.
A desert night can rain down stars of poetry
sweeping the landscape in a storm you cannot see.

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