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Poetry Magnum Opus

IV . Hindi Region: Triveni


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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Indian Verse
Hindi Region

The Triveni was introduced in the 1960's by Gulzar, poet and Oscar award winning lyricist who won for best original song in Slum Dog Millionaire. The form is a popular 3 line verse mostly written in Urdu or Hindi. It uses the sher of the ghazal and adds a third line with a totally different perspective. Gulzar likens it to two Indian rivers that join and under which a third river flows. “I called it triveni because the first two lines meet like the Ganga and the Yamuna and complete a thought, it forms a poem on its own. But beneath the two there is the subterranean flow of another, the Saraswati. Hidden. Not visible to the eye. The triveni intends to reveal the Saraswati. The third line, lost in the first two, either changes the meaning of the poem altogether, its focus, or gives it a surprising twist, in the process creating an entirely new poem altogether."

The elements of the Triveni are:

  1. a poem in 3 lines made up of a complete couplet (a ghazal sher, a two line poem in itself.)  followed by a single line. These can be written in a series of Triveni.
  2. written in lines of equal length.
  3. end words are unrhymed.  However in a ghazal sher the main rhyme is found somewhere near the end of L1 and is repeated somewhere in the last half of L2.   If the Triveni is written in a series, the end word of L2 of the sher is repeated in refrain, as the end word of L2 in subsequent Trivenis. 
  4. written with L3 with a different perspective of the same theme of L1 & L2.


    The everyday routine of the office humms on and on,
    questions, quotes, sales and claims spawn my day.

    Poetic lines flash on my laptop screen to don my day.
                                              ~~Judi Van Gorder

    (Note: I chose to treat the 3rd line of my poem as if it were L2 of a second ghazal couplet.  This was my choice, adding the main rhyme and refrain word to L3 is not a required element of the form.)

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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