A few years ago I used to have a separate poetry blog and I would repeat the weekly post on this blog, just to share my love of poetry. But then I got away from poetry for a while (you can read the story about why HERE.
I’ve written a few poems over the last few years but haven’t shared many until Jamie and I did our poem a day challenge in April. It brought back fond memories of poetry, and gave me the urge to do more with my poetry going forward.
I decided I’d start including a poetry post once a week on Writing Blog and then I thought, why not repeat it here like I was doing before? Therefore, the first Friday of the month (Wednesday on the writing blog) will feature a poetry form, the following Fridays will be just random poems - some new, some old, some of my old favorites.
So... without further ado, I’d like to share this month’s form, the sestina.
The sestina was one of the most challenging forms I’ve ever encountered. It has 39 lines in total, divided into six verses of six lines each, and a three line envoi at the end. Sounds easy enough, right? Especially since it doesn’t have to rhyme. But here’s the thing. You start off by coming up with six words, and each of these words is used as a end word of one line in each of the six verses and the order changes in each verse.
For my sestina, I used the words: truth, grave, life, night, death, and stone.
Night Dweller’s Truth
In every breath there is a truth
that overshadows every grave,
a truth not found within a life
that shines its beacon into night,
a knowledge brought about by death
and graven into hardest stone.
A thought that’s carved in precious stone
contains what we perceive as truth,
unsuppressed by certain death,
as cold and alien as the grave,
deep and dark as empty night
just before it bursts to life.
If I’d but know how sweet is life,
not just a pathway strewn with stone,
perhaps I’d not embraced the night
that fills me with its awful truth
and takes me far beyond the grave
out of reach of even death.
And what is that which we call death?
Perhaps another way of life,
the end is more than just the grave,
a fresh turned mound that’s capped with stone.
Perhaps we’ll never know the truth
before we pass into the night.
Come and share this sweetest night
where we can stand abreast of death,
and we will seek the perfect truth
of what is that which we call life
that gathers round us like a stone
and leads us blindly to the grave.
You look at me with visage grave -
accept my words, accept the night,
accept that fate’s not carved in stone.
Turn away from Lady Death,
her promise of the afterlife,
and know what’s in my heart is truth.
We’ll find our truth without the grave
and make our life within the night,
then vanquish death with shattered stone.
If you’d like to learn more or better yet, try your hand at your own sestina, here are a couple of sites that I’ve found helpful in the past:
The Poetry Foundation