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Esther Greenleaf Murer


Esther Greenleaf Murer

    Do not sink gently into fathomless grief 
    at brilliancy of colors bleached to white;
    rage, rage against the dying of the coral reef.
elkhorn, staghorn, pineapple, red cauliflower, mushroom, precious red, blue, organpipe, star, brain, torch, cup, sun, bubble, cactus, column, finger, flowerpot, pillar, table, tube, stone, fire

    Before we’ve even plumbed the trove of life
    that shelters there, prey to manmade blight,
    we rampage, rampage, killing off the coral reef. 

purple stovepipe sponge, striped cleaner wrasse, batwing coral crab, slipper sea cucumber, tomato clownfish, yellow nudibranch, magnificent feather duster, nurse shark, marine iguana

    At last we claim the ocean as our fief;
    ours is the absolute, God-given right
    to wage, wage war against the coral reef.

blue spotted sting ray, saddleback butterflyfish, sea whip, chambered nautilus, variable boring sponge, regal tang, purple sea urchin, olive ridley sea turtle, acropora crab, sharpnosed puffer

    When Gaia bore us, she produced a thief
    who, armed with outsize trawls and dynamite,
    would stage, stage the dying of the coral reef.

harlequin shrimp, reticulate brittle star, somber sweetlips, blue-ringed octopus, loggerhead turtle, minifin parrotfish, brown volcano carpet sponge, orange fireworm, flamingo tongue cowrie

    our legacies (and may our time be brief) 
    of plastic scum and seas acidified
    presage, presage the dying of the coral reef.

deceiver fangblenny,  chicken liver sponge, Christmas tree worm, yellow-bellied sea snake, zebra shark, flying gurnard, sunflower starfish, leafy sea dragon, spiny lobster, zooxanthellae

    The news continues dire, with no relief,
    no end to blind rapacity in sight.
    Do not sink gently into fathomless grief 
    but rage, rage against the killing of the coral reef.


First published in The New Verse News / April 22, 2015

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.

About Esther Mürer

ESTHER GREENLEAF MURER, an octogenarian relic of the twentieth century, finds the ghazal a congenial form for the way her mind works. She lives in Philadelphia, and may someday get around to updatingher blog. Esther Greenleaf Mürer lives in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared previously in The Ghazal Page and in numerous other literary ezines. At 75, she recently published her first poetry collection, Unglobed Fruit. Her collection is available on Amazon and Esther Greenleaf Mürer lives in Philadelphia. At 72, she considers herself an emerging poet. Most recently her poems have been published in Light, New Verse News, and . She has also published literary translations from Norwegian. She first learned about ghazals from her son George, an ethnomusicologist with a particular interest in Persianate cultures. See Poets & Writers.