Empty Nights


I’ve come to the end of my day, feeling quite empty.
I look for what can fill me, discovering my night’s empty.

The longing for love is strong, like an addiction,
Like an addiction to what once swirled in this bottle, right empty.

Early on in this search, I looked for who could fill me.
My search for the best quality red, rose’ or white: empty.

And then my standards lessened, as desperation set in.
I consumed it all, whatever I might empty.

Now alone, I jiggle the door to that last locked cabinet.
I catch my reflection in the glass, Paula, what a sad sight: empty.

P. Wanken

PROCESS NOTES:  I started out again with a desire to write process notes before I’ve even put words down for the poem. As I’ve analyzed this desire, I believe that writing some of the process notes is a way to organize my thoughts. My own version of “mind mapping” or “free writing,” I guess.

Also once again, I’m combining multiple prompts. I’m not sure if it’s because I like the challenge of combining prompts, or if they just fit nicely together, or if I get behind on responding to individual prompts and I can’t let a good prompt get away!

If you frequent the prompt sites, you might have recognized some of them…otherwise, here are the ones I used:

Tuesday Tryout: a Ghazal form
Persian poetic form: five to fifteen couplets using the same word at the end of both lines of the first couplet with an internal rhyme preceding it; and using that word at the end of the second line of each subsequent couplet (as well as the internal rhyme); and using the poet’s name in the final couplet. Though contemporary Ghazals can be on any theme, the traditional Ghazal is written on the topic of love or wine.  I chose both. And, though I used my name in the final couplet, didn’t write this from my own experience. This IS however, my first Ghazal experience!

Three Word Wednesday: jiggle, early, quality (plus a bonus word from a friend: “swirl”)

Poetic Asides: write a poem using “empty”

Poets United – Thursday Think Tank: Nighttime was the listed theme.

We Write Poems: write a poem using Parallelism
Parallelism is a kind of rhyme, in which an idea is developed by the use of repetition. There are two types of parallelism: synonymous parallelism (two lines expressing the same idea) and antithetic parallelism (two lines expressing opposite ideas). “Hmmm….two lines. As in couplet? Fits nicely with the Ghazal requiring couplets,” I thought. Not sure if I used “two lines” the way the prompt intended…but I did attempt a synonymous parallelism.

Margo Roby’s Wordgathering for Thursday: This wasn’t so much of a prompt as it was a teaching on mind mapping and rhyming. And I decided what better time than trying to write a Ghazal to use some of the strategies Margo suggests. I didn’t use the tools she included in her link. But I definitely put more thought into what to include in this poem via mind mapping, than I have in any other poem!

So. This poem was the result. I’d love to get your input/feedback!



  1. Paula, a great ghazal, if very sad. Kudos for the combination of prompts you’ve managed to include – it’s hard enough fulfilling the ghazal requirements, without factoring in anything extra! Your internal rhymes work well, too.

    Your process notes are splendid, and your planning is fantastic


    1. Thanks for the feedback on the internal rhymes. Rhyming is so not my thing…up to now, anyway. If I keep getting “forced” into trying forms that require it, perhaps I’ll “have” to hone my skills?? 🙂 ~Paula


  2. Hey! You did well. And, what a powerful last line. I keep going back up and rereading it. There is something about addressing oneself that gives the ghazal a kick. And now you have not only written a ghazal, but have rhymed! You should be feeling quite satisfied 🙂


  3. Ah, you have done a wonderful job combining many prompts – bravo! I enjoy the challenge of that, too. The ghazal prompt scared me, though, so I didn’t manage it. I think yours works VERY well. 🙂


    1. Thanks, TGR. Don’t let the prompt scare you. Just give it a go! If you end up with something post-able, post it. If it’s not. Don’t. But…at least try your hand at it. You never know what can happen. This was my first attempt…and I had wanted to plug my ears, cover my eyes, and sing “La La La La La La La” instead of reading Margo’s instructions! 🙂

      And just don’t try to work in a whole bucket of other prompts while you’re at it, and you’ll be fine!



  4. I really like this piece Paula. The phrase “whatever I might empty” jumped out and grabbed me and the last line really packed quite a punch. I’ve known about ghazal’s for a long time, even tried my hand at one, but I think you nailed it. Excellent!

    I also love love love your process notes. I typically write free verse but want to learn how to structure my work better. Reading how you do things is illuminating so, thank you. And if you don’t mind, I think I’d like to use this idea it in my blog too.



    1. Karen: First of all…thanks for subscribing. That means a lot. 🙂

      Glad you liked this piece. I wrote a whole list of words that rhymed with quite…and when I hit on “might,” I knew that line had to be included. Glad it grabbed hold. And I agree with Margo’s comment, above, that using a name in the final couplet really packs a punch.

      I’m also glad you enjoyed the process notes. As I was writing them (the bulk of it BEFORE I’d written the poem), I was thinking how it was helping me sort it all out. I wondered if it was just part of the process of doing just that: sorting it all out? Or if it should be included in the post. I’m glad I’ve included the notes. Seems they’re helpful. So I’ll try to include them when I feel it’s appropriate. And by no means is it “my idea” to include process notes. I’ve seen it done on others’ blogs…so you should certainly feel free to do so on your own blog! 🙂

      Thanks again for your comments..your visit…and continuing to read my work.



  5. What an abundance of emptiness! I loved the repetitiveness and sadness in this piece. You portrayed the emptiness of Paula’s life and the cabinet well!


    1. Rob: SO good to see you here…thank you for stopping by and for your comment. The ghazal does lend itself to repetition. And it does work…emphasizing whatever point it is you’re honing in on…in this case, emptiness. Thanks for your feedback! ~Paula


    1. Oh, dear…I believe I’m between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If I capitulate, you still assign more Ghazals! …maybe if I didn’t incorporate so many prompts along with it, next time. EEEK!! “NEXT time!?” I’m already planning to write another….




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