Monday, February 23, 2015



Sometimes, in the Morning, when my mind and body are deciding if it is time to get up, a joyful little nudge in the back of my brain whispers, “There is coffee waiting for you when you get up”. This is usually enough of an incentive to make me throw back the covers and start my day.  Having a cup of coffee in the morning is a simple everyday thing. Something I have done thousands of times in my life. I think finding such pleasure in it now, is something that has come to me, as I get older.

The process of aging can be treacherous.  The changes that silently creep over my face and body startle me when I look in the mirror. I wonder who that old woman is that is staring back at me. There are days when I wonder where my brain has run off to because it doesn’t seem to be with me. To know that I live in the generation that is “up to bat” so to say, in the “meet your maker” department is pretty daunting too.

So it was a joyful thing, when I found out that there are gifts we receive as we age. One of them is being able to perceive and take pleasure in the small joys of life. Another is a clearer self awareness of who I am and what I chose to be. 

It is true, my hearing may not be as keen as it once was but when I listen I am more likely to hear with my heart and truly understand the meaning of the words. I find myself being a better listener now.  I may need glasses to correct my vision but now when I look, I not only see the bird but I also see the beauty of the bird. I can see the world in all of its spectrums. I see things now that my younger eyes would have passed over. 

I’ve learned over the years that it is a choice, not an obligation to please other people.  I find that I can enjoy the company of others but I can enjoy my own company, just as well.  I am no longer overly concerned with others option of me, as the saying goes; it really is none of my business.  My moral compass has been set to my personal, due north, and I am at peace with my beliefs.  The truth and freedom of knowing these things is another gift of growing older.

Today I will take pleasure in the moments I spend sipping my coffee, in the stillness of this winter morning.  I will take time to notice the beauty of the cup that holds my brew.  I will relish the cradling comfort of my favorite chair and I will plan my day, anticipating the joy I will find in its hours.

Diana, for the Poplar Grove Muse


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Playing With Form: Ghazal

Thanks to my Poet friend, Marie Deer, mistress of the Ghazal form, for inspiring these attempts during a recent day of writing.   Valentines Day was approaching.  And so, these baby steps. 


Love the quiet, liquid dark, skin shine after a storm
It washed in lately with me and mine after a storm

Blue chairs on beaches, sea oats, lonely mailbox delivery
Walking the strand this time after a storm

Turtles move with tides, my tiny one sleeps and cries
Time passes lightning strikes far off after a storm

Puzzle pieces strewn round kitchen table jumble
Test my mental metal reach for rhymes after a storm

Far off blue, this part of you, I cannot touch or know
Billows gently on Beth’s morning laundry line after a storm


Chocolate drops drip, my tongue trips we fall down inside my mind
Valentines daze me, roses, daisies candied lips inside my mind

Velvety sheets, deep red wine, blood spit shine
Love letters galore will not quit inside my mind

Coast of Maine, shuttered windows, stuttered words, the old days
Twang and thrum and hearts well lit inside my mind

Too many days and water over bridges, what’s yours is mine,
And every single hurt and sweetness sticks inside my mind

Elephant memory, trumpet vine, we wrap we warp we
Intertwine, the ways of forgiveness candle lit inside my mind

So give Beth a rose, for real and true and a beating heart
This year from you, all sadness gone, no petals ripped inside my mind

About Ghazal:

The ghazal is a love lyric of from five to 12 verses. The content is religious, secular, or a combination of both.

Scholar Gene Doty writes:
 here are what I understand to be the basic features of a ghazal in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, etc.:
  • A ghazal is a series of couplets. Each couplet is an independent poem, although a thematic continuity may develop. T
  • Traditional themes that focus on romantic love and mysticism.
  • Both lines of the first couplet (called the "matla") and the second line of each succeeding couplet have the same monorhyme ("qafia") and refrain ("radif").
  • The refrain (radif) is the same word or short phrase (or even syllable, according to Ali).
  • A. J. Arberry says that each couplet of the Persian ghazal ends in a monorhyme (words ending with the same vowel+consonant combination), but he does not mention the refrain.
  • All the couplets are in the same meter. (Ali does not mention meter.)
  • The poet "signs" the last couplet ("makhta") by including her/his name or pen name ("takhallus").
Poems published in English as ghazals usually have only the first feature. Agha Shahid Ali insists that a poem cannot be a ghazal without inclusion of all the features. He especially insists on the radif/refrain. Avachat says that sometimes the radif is omitted. John Drury's description of the form, like others I've seen, is not clear on these specifics, but does encourage experimentation.

BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grandpa Cookie Knees

Grandpa Cookie Knees

In this life, 
Grandpa Cookie Knees gets out of that worn brown chair.
He holds a pencil,
and throws out those cumbersome blue pens 
the size of celery stalks.
He has no need for the pulley system in the kitchen 
where Grammie bathes him,
or the wooden ramps 
my curls bounced down when I was five.
In this life, he and Dad race motorcycles 
along Mountain Road,
he comes down South,
and maybe drums a little at my wedding.
In this life, his 1968 banana yellow Buick Skylark
is never mine,
because he’s behind the wheel.
It doesn’t sit in the garage for twenty years.
There is no football injury, no back pain,
no slip of the surgeon’s hand.
In this life,
the man who couldn’t feel 
my five year old fingers rub the Oreo cream 
on his worn, useless knees,
doesn’t laugh at the child who doesn't know 
it really isn’t funny.

No, in this life, he gets up out of that worn brown chair.


Monday, February 2, 2015


From the silence,
the lineage I see in your eyes
the child you were
in the gaze
I can hear,

The protest of death
is a smile-

there is nothing quiet about it.


The only promise I can make
is to return to this

When the day takes my vision away
and I’m not sure where to turn
let me love you,

From the silence
through the lineage
in your eyes.

Allison Distler