‘Gizem Dağl’, or ‘Mountain of Mystery’ in Turkish, is a poem written in the Masnavi form. Writer’s Digest explains that the Masnavi (or Mathnawi) is an ancient form with Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu varieties.[1] The style uses couplets, but with a twist: the rhymes are internal or ‘half-line’ horizontal rhymes, with each line being an independent couplet. Each line is either 10 or 11 syllables, with a consistent rhythm throughout the poem. Many masnavi poems are long poems, centered around a story or theme, often spiritual or mystical. In this poem, the author uses this ancient form to explore the legendary, literary, and biblical mystery of Mount Ararat, marrying a mountain and a form both crossed by Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu cultures.

Gizem Dağl

Mountain of Mystery

(Masnavi form)

Tigris Euphrates, by heaven’s floodgates

their banks overran, destroy sin the plan

all gone save one man, temptation withstand

vessel holding lands, promise kept commands

a stone altar and, verdant vineyard land

mountain mystery- dağin gizemi

Book I:

Agri Dagi

Mountain of Pain


cloaking water rise, a perfect disguise

cradle well-born made, of pitched wood and blade

righteousness rising, judgment devising

tears of sorrow flow, flooding as they go

lights in the vault,  thunderbolts default

unlocked heavens by, covenant on high

concealed by fountain, buried in mountain

two peaks rise like men, lesser greater then

one brought death and sin, other life within

crushed by heel that breaks, redeems our mistakes

Utnapishtim’s wife, gives the plant for life

seeking plunged headlong, Gilgamesh rights wrong

answered Urartu, stays obscured from view

old to become young, once the spring has sprung

weeks become past hours, seeds of old re-flower

Eden to return, sin and death to spurn

serpent slithers steals, skin slips and reveals

again forbidden, fruit’s secret hidden

that which man cannot, himself untie the knot

Citation Information

Karise Gililland, “Gizem Dagl,” An Unexpected Journal: Mystery 6, no. 1. (Spring 2023), 137-140.


[1] Robert Lee Brewer, “Masnavi (or Mathnawi): Poetic Forms,” Writer’s Digest University, September 18, 2020, accessed January 27, 2023, https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/masnavi-or-mathnawi-poetic-forms.