Shades of Grey

NaPoWriMo Day 19: I’d like to challenge you to write a landay. Landays are 22-syllable couplets, generally rhyming. The form comes from Afghanistan, where women often use it in verses that range from the sly and humorous to the deeply sardonic and melancholy. Check out this long investigative article on landays for a fascinating look into a form of poetry often composed in secret, and rarely written down. You could try to write a single landay – a hard-hitting couplet that shares some secret (or unspoken) truth, or you could try to write a poem that strings multiple landays together like stanzas (maybe something akin to a syllabic ghazal?)


 My sweetheart, who fears matrimony
I shall commit to dress forever in ebony.

~Just L (April 19, 2015)

Photograph: Mourning Dress (detail) (1902–04), black silk crape, black chiffon, black taffeta (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of The New York Historical Society, photo by Karin Willis)

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