From Poetry Wiki
Qasida (also spelled qasidah) in Arabic "قصيدة", in Persian قصیده (or چكامه 'chakameh'), is a form of poetry from pre-Islamic Arabia. It typically runs more than 50 lines, and sometimes more than 100. It was later inherited by the Persians, where it became sometimes longer than 100 lines and was used and developed immensely.
Qasida is often panegyric written in praise of a king or a nobleman. This kind of qasidah is known as a madih meaning praise. Qasidas have a single presiding subject, logically developed and concluded.
The qasida is made up of couplets. The two halves of the first couplet rhyme and the second part of each of the other couplets rhymes with the first couplet (AA BA CA DA EA ...).
The classic form of qasida maintains a single elaborate meter throughout the poem, and every line rhymes. These poems are considered some of the most elaborate in the world.
In his 9th century Kitab al-shi'r wa-al-shu'ara' (Book of Poetry and Poets) the Arabic writer ibn Qutaybah says that (Arabic) qasida are formed of three parts: - They start, he says, with a nostalgic opening in which the poets reflects on what has passed, known as nasib. A common concept is the pursuit of the poet of the caravan of his love; by the time he reaches their campsite they have already moved on. - The nasib is usually followed by the takhallus - a release or disengagement. The poet often achieved this disengagement by describing his transition from the nostalgia of the nasib to the next portion of the poem. The second section is rahil (travel section) in which the poet contemplates the harshness of nature and life away from the tribe. - Finally there is the message of the poem, which can take several forms: praise of the tribe, fakhr; satire about other tribes, hija; or some moral maxims, hikam.
While a lot of poets have intentionally or unintentionally deviated from this plan in their qasida it is recognisable in many.
One of the most popular and well known qasidas is the Qasida Burda ("Poem of the Mantle") by Imam al-Busiri, which is based on the quintessential classical qasida by Ka'b ibn Zuhayr. Ibn Zuhayr's classical qasida was composed at the dawn of Islam, and as a token of his conversion. In exchange for his poem, the Prophet Muhammad awarded Ibn Zuhayr his burda, or mantle.
Persian Variation of Qasideh
As mentioned above, after the 10th century, Iranians developed qasideh immensely and used it for very different purposes other than praise or nostalgia as did Arabs originally for the tribal and nomadic life. For example, Naser Khosro used qasideh extensively for philosophical, theological, and ethical purposes. Even Avicenna used qasideh to express philosophical ideas.
In the Persian style, the opening is usually description of a natural event like seasons (spring, fall, etc) or a natural landscape, or an imaginary sweetheart. If it's about the spring it's called 'baharieh' (in Persian: بهاريه or Spring Poem), if it's about the fall it's called 'khazanieh' (in Persian: خزانيه, or Autumn Poem). Then there comes the 'takhallos' (disengagement or escape or the main purpose) where the poets usually addresses themselves by using their pen name. Then the last section is the main purpose of the poet in writing the poem. Because, after all, 'qasideh' literally means intention and it was used to ask for support from a patron or to state a petition.
In Persian the best qasidehs are those by
- Farrokhi Sistani, the court poet of Mahmoud Ghaznavi (11th century), especially his 'Hunting Scene' (in Persian: قصيده شكارگاه),
- Masud Sa'd Salman (12th century) who was wrongfully imprisoned on the suspicion of treason
- Anvari Abiverdi, (12th century) especially his petition for help against the invasion of Mongols
- Khaghani Shervani (12th century)
- and in the 20th century, Mohammad Taghi Bahar with his innovations in using qasideh for political purposes.
After the Mongol invasion and starting in the 14th century, Persian poets became more interested in ghazal and the qasideh declined in status. Ghazal was originally developed from the first part of qasideh where the poets praised their sweethearts. The mystic poets and sufis used ghazal for mystical purposes.