Steffen Horstmann


Steffen Horstmann has written more than two hundred ghazals in English. His poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout the world, including in: Baltimore Review, Free State Review, Istanbul Literary Review, Louisiana Literature, Oyez Review, Texas Poetry Journal, and Tiferet. His book of ghazals, Jalsaghar, will be published this year by Kariboux; and he has recently completed his second collection of ghazals, Ujjain.

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Variation on a Theme by James Merrill

Waves of scudding clouds flood the night at Sandover.
Plane trees emit auras of white light at Sandover.

From a gramophone the chords of a ruminative suite
Waft through an empty ballroom tonight at Sandover.

Sleek tulips skirt a vined wall stenciled
With silver leaves in perpetual flight at Sandover.

A paper boat is moored with string to a lotus blossom
As wind riffles an ascending dragon-kite at Sandover.

Mirrors in the salon duplicate a queen’s diamond,
Its rays flooding glass with shattered light at Sandover.

Turkish bees & emerald hummingbirds hover
Amid roses, lavender & white, at Sandover.

The winter garden is an empire of ice-sculptures
Illuminated by stars shedding blue light at Sandover.

Above an azure bay Venus is a jewel studding
The prismatic fire of twilight at Sandover.

Moths flutter through rooms of sheeted furniture, hasten
A storm of motes in the dusty light at Sandover.

I dream it restored, that rosebrick manor in the Hamptons.
The driveway is glass sparkling with light at Sandover.

JM’s jotted lines are pressed into a table’s grain−
Excerpts of scripts from The Changing Light at Sandover.

Ghazal of Deceleration

Radiant dust in the wake of a train slowing.
The rush of air through a stallion’s mane slowing.

Swirling leaves that resemble notes of music.
The wind’s aria along the Seine slowing.

Where desert breezes sketch arabesques in sand,
A mirage’s palm’s sway with the rain slowing.

The rainbow slashed by slivers of lightning.
Sciroccos in mountain terrain slowing.

Silk cocoons from which luna moths emerged.
Thunderheads over a scorched plain slowing.

Flaming meteors puncturing a gold horizon.
Buckshot hail that laces a hurricane slowing.

Sita’s shrieks becoming whispers.
Funnel clouds in a sea lane slowing.

Comets Puncture Clouds of Dust From Suns That Exploded

Comets puncture clouds of dust from suns that exploded,
As white fires subsume coronas of stars that imploded.

Kali emerges from thunderheads sprouting fiery clouds,
Where waves churn the sands of shores coastal rains eroded.

Stalled tanks surround garrisons ravaged by whirlwinds,
With sparks spraying from gears the burning sands corroded.

Scorched moons are dissolved by a pulsar’s rays streaming
Through the glowing debris of a sun that exploded.

Galactic fires erupt as meteors are teeming
In an ocean of light where a star imploded.