Today the form at dVerse is to write a ghazal – pronounced guzzle, which is fitting because it is a poem about drunkenness and/or romance.  Of course the drunkenness can symbollize the rapture of God.  I prefer my poetry brief, to the point and in the style of the Japanese. I don’t believe in using 500 words when I can use 50. I will do my best with this form and also with the prompt at Toads – Summer’s End.  Celia was the name of my mother and great-grandmother. A guzzle (ghazal) is made up of non-connected couplets using a repeating line or phrase in the last line of each couplet.  Which is actually, a pretty neat poetic device.

“Summer in the deep South is not only a season, a climate, it’s a dimension. Floating in it, one must be either proud or submerged.”  ― Eugene Walter, The Untidy Pilgrim

the southern summer night is like an obscene phone call
lowly whispered in tones of moist hot tones here at the beginning of summer.

the full moon floated on the clouds last night
and magnolias opened their blooms here at the beginning of summer.

magnolias perfumes the air and gifts us with its incense,
and I think this is all the beauty we need here at the beginning of summer.

blooms like fragrant plates at a feast, petals spreading wide
and showing their golden hearts here at the beginning of summer.

but the feast soon ends and petals turn brown and scent fades
as their hearts fall like solid tears here at the beginning of summer.

we had dreams once when we were young and beautiful
and we lived our dreams here at the beginning of summer.

the night closes fast Celia, and fragrance dissipates into dew
at the end of summer, here at the beginning of summer.



46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    May 23, 2019 @ 15:18:33

    I wish I didn’t have to think about the end of summer when it’s just begun… but it’s so much like life itself, especially how you describe it in the penultimate couplet… all is clear, dreams going back to the beginning.


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  3. kim881
    May 23, 2019 @ 15:25:07

    Magnolias in the UK are spring blossoms and their scent is quite delicate, so I imagine summer blooming magnolias must be heady. I love that you describe them as ‘fragrant plates at a feast’ and the comparison of the southern summer night to an obscene phone call.


  4. annell4
    May 23, 2019 @ 15:28:40

    I loved your beautiful poem about magnolias and the beginning of summer. It took me back, to warm nights, playing outside in summer, in the embrace of the fragrance of magnolias.


  5. Charmed Chaos
    May 23, 2019 @ 16:54:41

    I love this poem Toni- I miss Magnolias here in AZ, although I think some varieties will grow here.


  6. Gay Reiser Cannon
    May 23, 2019 @ 17:01:02

    I can see two big full flowering magnolias from my kitchen bay window. The flowers are lovely and fragrant but some are already turning brown and of course, it’s still spring but the heat is intermittent in spring in the Southern US and Texas, and magnolias symbolize so much of its culture. Both graciousness and cruelty which is caught in between the lines of this mesmerizing ghazal about love and culture. Vibrant poem and like the flowers rich in texture and deep in meaning!


  7. Grace
    May 23, 2019 @ 18:07:13

    Magnolias are beautiful when they bloom, like right now in my part of the world. Will be sorry when they fall and brown and fade away. Thanks for joining in Toni.


  8. robtkistner
    May 23, 2019 @ 19:21:59

    Ah, the beauty of summer breaking upon our world. Always a magical period. Really enjoyed thus Toni!


  9. Sherry Blue sky
    May 24, 2019 @ 01:54:37

    Magnolias are so wonderful. “We had dreams once when we were young and beautiful.” Yes we did.


  10. Brendan
    May 24, 2019 @ 05:29:57

    Nice summer love song. The magnolias are such as swooning image.


  11. Misky
    May 24, 2019 @ 07:26:53

    I’ve never had the pleasure of your variety of magnolia. Perhaps one day. I’ll remember your poem when I do.


    • kanzensakura
      May 24, 2019 @ 09:49:21

      I wish you could. The southern magnolia is a magnificent tree in size and when covered with white blooms the size of dinner plates – oh my goodness. The smell is exquisite – a rich deep citrus smell, unlike their smaller cousin the gardenia which smells of honey and honey dew melon. The blooms don’t last long off the tree – about three days at most. I wish you could experience them.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



  12. Helen
    May 24, 2019 @ 11:58:38

    “we had dreams once when we were young and beautiful and we lived our dreams here at the beginning of summer”

    your poem is beautiful and this brought tears to my eyes ……


  13. mhmp77
    May 24, 2019 @ 12:53:26


    we had dreams once when we were young and beautiful
    and we lived our dreams here at the beginning of summer.

    So much to be remembered of the young days that it can well go another round of applause and fun!



  14. anmol(alias HA)
    May 24, 2019 @ 13:31:13

    Such a lovely summer poem — both the images and emotions create that mood peculiar to this season. I really like how you effectively used magnolias and added a particular musicality to it with the long second line refrain. Beautiful!


  15. sarahsouthwest
    May 24, 2019 @ 13:48:31

    This is every sensuous Southern image I’ve ever seen. Languid and luscious, the repetition is lulling, even as we drift into loss.


  16. Jane Dougherty
    May 24, 2019 @ 14:27:20

    Your poem is like reading a Southern novel, or a Tennessee Williams play. I know the form isn’t your favourite, but you got the image across.


  17. Glenn Buttkus
    May 24, 2019 @ 15:56:33

    You transported me to a different sphere with your lovely and sensual wordsmithing. I’ve never seen or smelled a magnolia as you describe, but thanks to you I have not missed the experience


  18. Kerry
    May 25, 2019 @ 02:46:06

    This is a most exquisite poem, Toni. The opening line is exceptionally good, and I could smell the scent of magnolias just by reading your description.


  19. merrildsmith
    May 25, 2019 @ 06:28:29

    This is sad and lovely, Toni–end of summer, end of lives–generations of southern women and magnolias–and I can almost feel that moist heat and smell the scent. . .


  20. Marian
    May 25, 2019 @ 09:45:40

    Dreamy 🙂


  21. lynn__
    May 25, 2019 @ 23:03:33

    A gorgeous ghazal (guzzle), Toni…drinking in the magnolias! I like that you include your grandmother’s name.


    • kanzensakura
      May 25, 2019 @ 23:07:58

      Thank you Lynn. It will bd the last guzzle I write. A proper name is supposed to be included in the last verse. I could think of no better name.

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  22. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    May 26, 2019 @ 18:03:57

    A very lovely, sensuous ghazal! I love magnolias – and also the beginning of summer. (I am not clear why you use your grandmother’s name instead of your own, unless perhaps you identify with her?)


    • kanzensakura
      May 26, 2019 @ 18:51:13

      You can use any name in the last couplet you choose. The name Celia the name of my mother and her grandmother.

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  23. larry trasciatti
    May 28, 2019 @ 12:56:40

    vivid description of all the sights and smells of summertime


  24. sanaarizvi
    May 28, 2019 @ 13:38:26

    Such a stunning rendition, Toni 🙂 I particularly like; “blooms like fragrant plates at a feast, petals spreading wide and showing their golden hearts here at the beginning of summer.”


  25. memadtwo
    May 30, 2019 @ 11:17:11

    Summer is very much a combination of beginnings and ends. This has a wonderful atmosphere. (K)


  26. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    May 30, 2019 @ 19:49:33

    Delicious… I LOVE the likeness to an obscene phone call – the humidity, the heaviness of those hot days … perfect!


  27. Bryan Ens
    Jun 07, 2019 @ 00:05:27

    Magnolias as metaphor for birth/life/death… nicely done!


  28. navasolanature
    Jun 19, 2019 @ 05:42:27

    This certainly enhances the beauty of being with magnolias and beginnings. Is your name Celia? I like the quote on the seasons and climate. Here Summer began in Spring and now we have long days of grey and I think April showers in June! Hence my attempt of a ghazal when leaving the blue skies of Andalucia. I knew it would be greyer in the UK. But the magnolias in Spring were a delight as is your poem about them!


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