Esther Greenleaf Murer

Opening sher by Gene Doty

Some lazy poets think they can dispense with rules.
Teachers with no muse mount a dull defense of rules.

Photosynthesis versus chemosynthesis:
though different, life in the deep-sea vents has rules.

Sometimes on nights when I'm too keyed up to sleep,
I iterate my way to somnolence with rules.

Bureaucrats respond to every new social crisis
by creating yet more toxic torrents of rules.

If the rules don't fit reality, it's because
reality is doing violence to the rules.
In times of darkness, where do you put your trust—
In the workings of divine providence, or rules?

Let the funhouse mirror stand as a paradigm
for that which learns from, and happily bends, the rules.


First published in Gene Doty's newsletter #20 / August 2013

Gene Doty's appreciation of ESTHER GREENLEAF MURER's first fumbling efforts at the ghazal form spurred her to write many more. She was raised on the masters of light verse, and the monorhyme feature of the Persian ghazal, plus the fact that complicated structures are not her long suit, have made it a congenial form. Her muse is primarily comic, and Gene was fine with that; his encouragement of experimentation and hybrid forms inspired her further. She has just turned eighty, and lives in Philadelphia.