Steffen Horstmann


Steffen Horstmann






Blue Thunderhead  II


Hummingbirds swarm the garden of Gethsemane today,

As the sun shimmers like a radiant anemone today.


The nightingale’s elegant cascade of notes fades

In lindens jeweled with dew in Galilee today.


Silver rain flows upward into clouds as languid

Verses float from the lips of Rumi today.


A sliver of lightning becomes the sky’s stylus,

Inscribing clouds with prayers in Hindi today.


Singing Faiz lyrics, Begum Akhtar emanates

From the surf of the Arabian Sea today.


Wraiths appear in flames that rise from debris

Swirling in the streets of Messene today.


In Shambhala the clouds stitched by needles

Of blue light form a brief paisley today.


From laurel leaves sheened in autumn light, prayers

Are whispered with the voice of Daphne today.


Iridescent ash sparkles above El Misti today.

Luminous doves rush from the tomb of St. Marie today.


Zafar’s grave is adorned with a crimson poppy today.


Gales sculpt clouds into roses above the Dead Sea today.






The Ascensions


Whirlwinds teeming in the ruins of pueblos rise,

Near crypts from which the ghosts of hidalgos rise.


Swarms of luna moths rush through billowing pyres

Where from spraying sparks hooded shadows rise.


At a shaman’s shrine wind mimics the sound of rain

As curtains of dust from scorched plateaus rise.


Thermals propel shrieking phoenixes through clouds

As petals of white ash from shadowed hollows rise.


Veils of sand shroud Moroccan mountains, convulse

With light through which roiling sciroccos rise.


As hornets swarm in the blossoms of oleanders,

Notes of music from the harps of willows rise.


Cobras are carved on ruby-studded tombs

Through which the spectres of pharaohs rise.


Persian warships choke the Dardanelles, when above

Spartan citadels clouds of flaming arrows rise.


Shards of light stream from a daemon’s crystal,

From which minute prisms & rainbows rise.


In the starlit ruins of a Byzantine basilica

Luminous madonnas from shattered frescoes rise.


From the shadows of flames, the syllables

Of a fire’s crackled speech in echoes rise.


Circling dolmens in widening rings,

Lightning-infused tornadoes rise.






[Translucent hummingbirds emanating]


Translucent hummingbirds emanating

From the diadem of Demara.


Light stitching paisleys

Into the clouds of Carrara.


Silhouettes rising in mists

From hot springs in Sagara.


Liquid mirrors undulating

In the palace halls of Samara.


The dance of spectral light

Within The Wheel of Samsara.


A monarch’s chrysalis sealed

By rain to the branch of a jarrah.


Lotus petals swirling

In the wake of a shikara.


Green lightning flailing upward

From the dolmens of Connemara.


Lemon roses carpeting

The avenues of Guadalajara.


Scripture chanted from The Gemara.

Gems pulsing in Parvati’s tiara.


Gold chalices in the tombs of Zara.

Sciroccos rising from the sands of Mara.















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, Life and Legends, Texas Poetry Journal, and Tiferet. His book of ghazals Jalsaghar will be published later this year; and he has recently completed his second collection of ghazals, Ujjain.

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