April PAD Challenge: Day 28

I was distressed to read the following message in the comments for yesterday’s prompt this morning:

Doubt I can finish the month…spent the last 24+ hours in ICU after my husband suffered an accident. Had to be airlifted to a city 3 hours away (40 min. by air) Will get back and follow the rest of you once I am able to be home for a while. It has been a great month celebrating poetry.

 

Emily Blakely |ecblakelyAT NOSPAMmsn dot com

 

Please send some goodwill Emily’s way; as you can probably tell from her comment, her husband’s accident sounds very serious.

 

*****

 

Maybe Emily’s horrible situation will put things into perspective for today’s challenge, which may very well be the hardest poem of the entire month for many. Today’s prompt is to write a sestina. (If you need a subject, you can write about catastrophe or loss or hope–to mirror the news above.)

 

So, what is a sestina? For those who have a few minutes to spare, please go to the following link: http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/Sestina6x6339+Thats+Math.aspx. Once there, you can read up about what a sestina is and can be.

 

For those in a hurry, here’s the basics on the sestina:

 

* It’s a poem consisting of 7 stanzas.

* The first 6 stanzas have 6 lines; the final stanza has 3 lines.

* There are only 6 end words to each line throughout the 39-line poem.

* They rotate in the following pattern:

1-End Word 1

2-End Word 2

3-End Word 3

4-End Word 4

5-End Word 5

6-End Word 6

 

7-End Word 6

8-End Word 1

9-End Word 5

10-End Word 2

11-End Word 4

12-End Word 3

 

13-End Word 3

14-End Word 6

15-End Word 4

16-End Word 1

17-End Word 2

18-End Word 5

 

19-End Word 5

20-End Word 3

21-End Word 2

22-End Word 6

23-End Word 1

24-End Word 4

 

25-End Word 4

26-End Word 5

27-End Word 1

28-End Word 3

29-End Word 6

30-End Word 2

 

31-End Word 2

32-End Word 4

33-End Word 6

34-End Word 5

35-End Word 3

36-End Word 1

 

37-End Words 1 and 2

38-End Words 3 and 4

39-End Words 5 and 6

Usually, the best strategy is to pick out 6 words you think you can have fun with and that are probably somewhat flexible in how you can use them (this includes modifying a word here and there–like changing “cold” to “clod” to fit your purposes). Maybe throw in a word that is a little unique–if you really want to challenge yourself. And remember to have fun.

 

Here’s my sestina for the day:

 

“On the fly”

I am a big fan of eating Lemonheads,

little yellow spheres tasting like a kiss

on a summer day while sitting on a bench

and enjoying the words of some expert

on how to be true and love me tender,

maybe while watching the birds fly

 

overhead and swatting away a fly

or two. That is, I think Lemonheads

are worth more than they’re tendered

in convenience stores. How do you kiss
and put a price on it? I’m no expert,

but I’m also not some dime-store bench

 

warming philosopher. I can bench

my weight in mistakes and open flies,

because I’ve always been one to expect

the need for a Plan B. That is, Appleheads

taste even better and led to my first kiss

in a long time–and at a very tender

 

moment. Maybe I’m just too tender-

minded. Maybe I should sit on the bench

of whatever court decides good kissing

practices. Maybe I should check my fly

before starting any hot talk on Lemonheads.

Maybe I should leave it to the experts.

 

After all, they are supposedly the experts

for a reason, right? I wonder if they tender

a smooch for the same price as Lemonheads.

I wonder if they set some kissing bench-

mark and expect us all to hit it on the fly,

just something we do without thinking: A kiss

 

on the cheek counting as much as a kiss

with tongues is blaspheme, whether experts

declare or not. One needs wings to fly

or we’d all slingshot crazy and turn into tinder–

a bright flaming star, a burning bench

where once I enjoyed eating my Lemonheads.

 

And the Lemonheads will always lead to kisses

on hot benches with or without the experts

to approve the tender moment of wanting to fly.

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188 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 28

  1. Lori

    Finally did the sestina! I asked my kids for six random words and had fun with it.

    Contemplations Over Casserole

    Sometimes my mind wanders and suddenly I fly
    away above everything and remember only love
    but then I am reminded, as I grate the cheese
    in the bowl for the chicken and broccoli casserole,
    that life can sometimes be difficult, in fact a little stinky,
    and the problems wash over me like a flood of water.

    I finish the grating and rinse my hands under the water
    flowing freely from the faucet, and again my thoughts fly
    to the many blessings in my life and I know it’s not all stinky,
    there’s grace and mercy and most important of all- love.
    So, with a smile on my face, I finish preparing the casserole
    and, humming, I happily sprinkle it generously with cheese.

    I place it carefully in the oven, decide to add a bit more cheese,
    and move to the sink, once again staring into the running water.
    I don’t know what it is, why I can’t keep my mind on a casserole
    and dinner prep, rather than all these distractions. I swat at a fly,
    sighing deeply at my introspective self. What is there to love
    about a woman whose moods change so quickly, from happy to stinky?

    And why is it that parmesan cheese is sometimes referred to as stinky?
    Why parmesan and not one of the more fragrant varieties of cheese?
    And why do we meet one person and suddenly, inexplicably fall in love?
    Why is that some people immediately click and others are like oil and water?
    Why do we look at someone and feel as though our stomach is full of butterflies?
    Who can understand the world? I guess I should check on the casserole.

    Taking a sip of coffee first, I walk over to the oven to peer at the casserole.
    The oven door creaks open and I’m caught in the face by hot air, slightly stinky
    as it invades my nostrils so quickly and I step back quickly, too quickly and I fly
    backwards onto the floor, where I lay, noticing stray shavings of parmesan cheese
    being slowly, but persistently, pursued by a small stream of dirty dish water.
    I am faced with these reminders of the daily, wanting to be lost in thoughts of love.

    Pulling the towel from the stove, I swipe at the meaningless mess and think of love,
    but I’m disgustingly distracted by remnants of the preparation for the casserole
    and so I sigh once again and start tossing all the dirty dishes in the dish water.
    Washing and scrubbing, I try to think of nothing more than placing the stinky
    cheese remainders back in the fridge. I want to be happy thinking only of cheese
    but I’m so much more and it’s to everything else that my thoughts tend to fly.

    So I let them go, wandering, happy to let them soar and let them fly, love
    always rising to the surface, pushing out the smell of burning cheese casserole
    which is destined, unlike love, to be washed away forever in the stinky water.

  2. S.E. Ingraham

    The Bunny, the Graves and the Author

    It is a simple affair, of laying some ground
    rules, Mr. Bunny, you who are always in the grave
    yard whether I come here to write or to bury
    some poor fool. I love the quietude found amongst the stones
    of the dead. I wonder as I scribble what charms you
    so profoundly that you appear as if by magic no matter

    what time of day or night. Is there any so pressing a matter
    Mr. Bunny, so very alarming as to force you underground?
    I find I’m pondering this as I’ve not been here without you.
    It begs the question, when I’m not here, are you in grave
    danger of being banned to some existential ether or are you just behind the stones
    Awaiting my return? Enough of this, it’s time to bury

    myself again beneath my pen and ink and words before they bury
    me with deadlines looming. You Mr. B. are little help in this matter
    of getting work done, lucky charm or no, getting drunk or stoned
    seems just as motivating as lopping off one paw of yours upon the ground.
    Eww. Of course I did not mean I’d actually maim you; that would be a grave
    mistake, against the rules of which we spoke, the ones between me and you.

    Ground rules we meant to lay, or I did at least, if not you
    But as per usual, off on a tangent there I went, and in no time, I was buried
    beneath mounds of useless, trivial details, info I meant to take to the grave.
    Instead, I write, Mr. Bunny, in the bone yard, I share everything that matters
    with you and my readers. I unburden myself; it keeps me, after all, from going to ground .
    So hop closer dearest friend, and keep me company while I scribe here among the headstones.

    Cemeteries, as well as being almost silent, also offer up some very interesting stones.
    Gravestones, headstones, – they’re all different and can amaze you
    with poetry, quotations and some sayings so profound they’ll knock you to the ground.
    Perfect fodder for the writer and so notes I make to try to keep thoughts alive and not bury
    them deep with in my sub-conscious where I’ll lose the ideas forever in that gray matter
    at times referred to as my brain. Should that happen, I’ll know the situation is beyond grave.

    I say, here’s to two feet on the ground, instead of one foot in the grave
    I say, neither work nor body need be buried any time in the near future beneath the stones
    Mr.Bunny, for luck and company, I’ll keep you; as for the rest, I’ve nothing more on the matter.

    S.E.Ingraham

    And that’s all she wrote…
    Unbelievably – while admittedly, very overdue, I am finally caught up! Now, just do today’s Wed. prompt and off to bed.

  3. Kimberlee Thompson

    Cooties

    Tag! You’ve got the cooties,
    I quit! Yes, you are still my friend,
    and we can share treasures and secrets.
    But you were close enough to touch
    and these cooties were getting worse.
    As my friend, you’ll take my burden.

    And is it really such a burden?
    You’ve had more than cooties;
    I know, I’ve seen you with worse.
    Maybe I didn’t say so, my friend,
    But you’ve kissed frogs I wouldn’t touch.
    I’ve lived some of your secrets.

    Some of them were fun, too, our secrets.
    We’ve shared good times and burdens,
    Our lives continue to touch.
    Even if we’ve both got cooties,
    we know we’ve each got a friend.
    To have cooties alone is so much worse!

    Not to have each other would be worse.
    Who would keep our secrets?
    We’d be stuck with our second-best friend;
    “Almost first” is a dangerous burden
    It’s like having a constant case of cooties
    That keeps folks away from your touch.

    I’m glad we haven’t lost our touch
    for staying friends for better or worse.
    Even when stuck with my case of cooties
    You don’t give away my secrets.
    Neither cooties nor secrets are a burden
    When they’re shared by good friends.

    I regret those times I tested our friendship.
    Sometimes you seemed too far away to touch
    Or maybe I felt that my burden
    would make those you carried even worse.
    It hurt us both, those secrets
    We kept like a bad case of cooties.

    Still you share my cooties, friend.
    It’s no secret that your touch
    Cures my worst ills, I am without burden.

  4. Linda Hofke

    Had a crazy schedule the past week and finally got to the sesetina, my last prompt to complete. Wrote this while in the blog, tried to save, and my computer threw me out. That was yesterday. Will try to figure it out again. (Granted, this may not be good!) Here goes.

    Some times I daydream
    About those days as a child
    When I didn’t know
    The realities of the world,
    Just living my own egocentric life,
    My own hopes, own fears,

    Like the late night fears
    Brought on by a horrid dream
    Of tragically losing my life
    As a small child
    Due to aliens invading our world.
    I would wake to know

    That I could depend on my parents to know
    How to squash my fears
    And bring peace to my little world,
    Returning to bed to dream,
    This time of being the heroic child

    Saving my own life
    And all those that I know,
    To miraculously become a child
    Without any fear,
    Just dream after dream
    Of a perfect world.

    But there is no perfect world.
    There is no perfect life.
    But, yes, there are dreams.
    And I also know
    We should not let fears
    Come over us like a scared child.

    I tell myself–remember the brave child,
    Leader of the alien world.
    Overcome the fears,
    Embracing every day of life
    And you will know
    How to achieve that dream.

    The dream of finding one’s self, not the child
    I used to know in the world
    Of yesterday. New life begins by squeezing out fears.

  5. Anahbird

    I was swamped with work and house guests and got behind. Here are my last few poems.

    Writing Lows and Highs

    I do not wish to disappoint
    But that seems to be mine to give
    Hopes are raised way too high
    And they become my down-fall
    Or expectations are unreasonable
    And the final result is less than perfect.

    But no one is perfect
    And life is full of disappointment
    Doing your best is not unreasonable
    As long as it is not all give-give-give
    But don’t fear the fall
    Because a low is as normal as a high

    As a writer there are many highs
    Where life seems perfect
    But infinitely many more times when you fall
    And all of those scrap pages are disappointments
    With no purpose to give
    But that is unreasonable

    To act and work and try is not unreasonable
    And even though you miss that high
    Poor drafts have a purpose to give
    Although far from perfect
    And most disappointing
    They lead you back from a fall

    As long as you keep trying, then no fall
    And no fear, however unreasonable,
    Can forever disappoint
    Because practice raises you higher,
    Makes you better, your words more perfect,
    Showing everyone the effort you have given.

    So no matter how much you give
    Or how hard and fast you fall
    Don’t think of perfection
    Or of expectations that are unreasonable
    Instead enjoy the high
    Of the act and you will not be disappointed.

    Don’t let disappointment be all you give
    Enjoy the highs and the falls
    And forget unreasonable expectations and endless perfection.

  6. Jay Sizemore

    Life Cycle

    There is a certain unspoken poetry
    to be found in children at play,
    waiting for summer skies to fade to black,
    hearing a mother’s last dying word,
    and the heartbeat that interrupts the quiet
    in your ears like a persistent rhythmic ghost.

    Once, I though I saw this ghost
    hovering in the dark space between poetry
    and prose in the dripping quiet
    of a bathroom, the moment playing
    out like innocence lost to words
    best left swallowed in the blackness

    of the tongue-less, obsidian black
    sky, waiting for stars to appear like ghost
    notes that fall through music like whispered words.
    There is nothing to fear in this poetic
    world, everything an act written for your play,
    a candle left on your stage to illuminate the quiet

    absence of clapping hands, the calming quiet
    of the curtain call that opens up on the black
    hole of being alone. Nothing will ever play
    out to expectation, nothing can banish this ghost
    lingering these halls like lines of poetry
    smeared in bloody fingerprints shaped into words

    lost down corridors of thought, a water cycle of words
    and memories that echoes through the quiet
    solitude of existence like a new form of poetry,
    a new form of after life where eyelids are not the black
    screens of powered down TV’s, life is not the ghost
    image of dying light, and the passion play

    of heaven and hell was never forced to play
    a role in the divinity of the “Holy” word.
    In the name of my father, and his holy ghost,
    I relinquish myself again to the idea of quiet,
    to be happy in the noiseless, vacuous black
    of sleep, waiting to be reborn in another’s poetry.

    Forever and ever amen, this poem shall play
    like black vinyl spinning, releasing these words
    through the needle’s eye of quiet ghosts.

  7. Judy Roney

    Peace in Time

    This had been a good life
    full of hope
    my family intact
    grown and gone. The time
    for me to feel descending peace
    that was until his death

    Oh, I expected death
    of parents in my life
    I embraced this peace
    always hoped
    for a time would be a time
    when my family

    would be like other families
    move to the front of the line for death
    would enjoy each moment until my time
    that time in life
    when I would hope
    to go in peace, sweet peace.

    I didn’t fathom that peace
    in my family
    would be the for bearer of all hope
    vanquished as death
    took us out of sequence and time.

    My son at this time
    could not find peace
    would give up his life
    leave his family
    inconsolable over his death
    and give them the same lack of hope.

    Loss of hope
    might not seem much but in time
    the great leveler, death
    will be the thing to bring peace
    in scattered minds of family
    and friends who lo ed him.

    Life devoid of all hope
    brings your family in time
    to the thought of peace can be found only in death.

  8. Karen

    My thoughts and prayers are with our fellow poet Emily.

    Sorry I fell behind the last week of the challenge, but I was babysitting four grandkids Saturday through Friday morning AND in my "spare time" proofread about 5 papers for my college daughter. Hope it’s okay to go ahead and post my last three poems.

    April 28, 2008
    Sunny Afternoon in the Garden

    Toad blended in with mottled grass
    Took to the pond with a plunkish splash
    Nibbled on fish food at the surface fresh
    Evaded child’s grasp by swimming fast
    Waited for the shadow to pass
    The danger would not last.

    In a race he’d come in last
    But now he settled for drying in the grass
    And watched the children pass
    the frisbee. The azaleas made a splash
    of color under the pines but fast
    fading, blooms no longer fresh.

    Being a toad, he couldn’t catch fresh
    remarks made by the girl who last
    caught the disc. She held it fast
    and tackled her brothers to the grass.
    They wrestled, but started at the splash
    their little sister made with a rock she threw past.

    The sudden breeze chilled like an Alpen pass
    Children snatched on sweaters at the fresh
    air, as cold as a splash
    of icy water. The last
    to bundle was the baby plopping on the grass
    crying over the zipper that wouldn’t fasten.

    Big brother held the squirming toddler fast
    and never saw toad pass
    but watched little one pluck grass
    as big sister gave a tug and fresh
    on her mind after zipper business done at last,
    turned to the Frisbee in time to see toad splash.

    ”A toad,” they cried, making their own splash
    as three pairs of hands tried to grasp fast
    toad they had seen last
    at water’s surface. As the moments passed
    now refreshed
    toad eluded them with a leap to the grass.

    With toad hopping across the grass, only kids made splash
    As they struggled up to give fresh chase in fast
    Pursuit. Oldest girl made a pass at toad, who escaped at last.

  9. ck

    (I did it! I wrote a sestina, albeit a silly and embarassing one. You may recognize the four words — teeth, gums, cheek, tongue — listed on a current toothbrush commercial. That’s where I got the idea for this one after the one I started just wasn’t working. Well, I’m laughing about this anyway. And this means I’ve absolutely completed the challenge. Hooray for me!)

    A New Toothbrush in Town

    There’s a new toothbrush in the store.
    They say it’s more advanced for whiter teeth.
    They also say it massages pink, pink gums
    And scraps off nasty bits of all you eat
    From your tastebuds, your sensitive tongue.
    Oh, it also clears the gunk off your cheek.

    The makers of this brush really have cheek.
    It costs a fortune in the grocery store
    And finding it one really bites her tongue
    Or, should I say, she grits her pearly teeth
    Because the brush makes her guilty to eat
    Candy or chew the latest, greatest gums.

    The colors of the brush – vivid bubblegums,
    Greenest mint, and delicate red cheek –
    Are curious, like things that one might eat
    In an ethnic French or Mexican food store.
    Not tastes on which a baby cuts his teeth
    But certainly exotic, what the tongue

    Might say is of a foreign tongue.
    Though not like trees that drip their sappy gums,
    Nor ideas that really have no teeth –
    Like this poem. I mean, truly, no cheek,
    But the rest of this work in store
    For you makes me want to run and eat

    Food, instead of, rather, have to eat
    My words, or this time bite my tongue,
    Or run right out to the liquor store
    Which surely won’t be healthy for my gums.
    But I could slosh some whiskey in my cheek
    Then take the crazy new brush to my teeth

    And surely then I’ll have yet whiter teeth,
    For brushing just alone after I eat,
    And relying on bristles to clean my cheek,
    Instead of searching cheek with my tongue,
    And probing up and up inside my gums
    Is really better than the brush has in store.

    So I’ve left the store, and licked my teeth,
    I’ve bought three gums, and something to eat.
    That brush? Not for my tongue, nor for my cheek.

  10. Hope Greene

    I.C.U.

    The room was small, but had good light
    From the window. In the corner was an overflowing chair,
    Coat, book, overnight bag and mother
    Of our boys, a massive vase of roses on the table
    By the bed. I see A V of birds like a breath
    Through the pane. The curtains are gone.

    Then somehow the birds were all gone
    Folded into invisible light
    And didn’t reappear for a breath
    I lay, heavy, in my bed by the chair
    Forgetting that I was one with a mother

    Forgetting I came from the Anti-Mother
    She who gobbled and was gone
    Leaving my birthright pasted under a table,
    Buried in the mattress. We all crawled with the one flashlight
    Turning over every hard armed chair
    Digging through the cistern with stifled breath.

    I don’t remember if you took a huge breath
    When you threw off the title of mother
    And cracked my spine with the chair.
    The stab of it has never gone
    It lurked sixty years until the light
    Came to witness on the operating table.

    I’m going to lay my hand on the table.
    I never managed a breath
    Without my head going light
    And the harm I inherited from Mother
    I crumpled with me and so was gone
    Into my fiercely defended soft bottomed chair.

    The same faded green chair
    That my son has set next to his table
    In an extra office now that I’m gone
    Drowned in my own Breath
    From the wound I inherited from Mother
    And spent a life hiding from Light.

    The sunset light gilds an aluminum chair
    My sons’ mother puts her head on the table
    And breathes her own breath only, her husband gone.

  11. LindaTK

    Day 28
    Sestina {:-/

    I have to tell you that I spent many hours trying to find six words to play with that resonated with me. After I decided, and got it all set up and ready to roll, I found that I was stuck in the mud. I did follow through with what I think might resemble a Sestina, but it basically sucks. It is not my finest hour here! I’m sending it anyway, bc I want to fulfil the challenge. Here goes…

    Driven

    I am driven to write
    Every day and I pray
    That the right eyes are there
    When the work gets sent
    And not tossed to the wind
    To disappear in thin air

    I’ll create for my heirs
    And hope it’s alright
    When I’m done I’ll unwind
    And sing my own songs of praise
    It’ll be worth every cent
    To get my creations there

    What’s it like out there
    When you write and don’t err
    Does your work get sent
    To the ones who are right
    Then the wonderful praise
    Gets sung on the wind

    The road is still winding
    As I write here and there
    I’ll continue to pray
    That my words fill the air
    I’m happy when I write
    Even if it never gets sent

    I’ll burn my favorite scent
    To be carried on the wind
    To the place that is right
    Maybe here, maybe there
    The smell of fresh air
    Then I’ll sit down and pray

    I have sent out my prayer
    Wafting along with the scent
    As it moves through the air
    And is caught in the wind
    Will it be heard over there
    Will I continue to write

    I will write without praise
    They’re reading what’s sent
    Words caught in the wind as they move through the air

  12. Ang

    Sun peeps through the slats in the morning
    Moonlight bathes the yard in the evening
    Stirring a longing for all things gentle
    Yet giving me all things blue
    I long to soar
    To have my spirit washed

    My past I want to wash
    Start with a new morning
    Thoughts take off – they soar
    Until the dusk of evening
    Shaking off the blue
    Settling into gentle

    Words breathed gently
    Over my soul they wash
    Aquamarine and sky blue
    Blends with the morning
    Flows into violet evening
    On wings they soar

    Grace soars
    Free and gentle
    Lullabys in the evening
    Like a fence with whitewash
    Bird songs in the morning
    Soft and sky blue

    Sounds of jazz and notes of blue
    Fall on my ears then soar
    No longer in mourning
    Rock my soul gently
    Tears wash over me
    Cleansing the evening

    Into the evening
    All dark and navy blue
    Clean and washed
    Tired and sore
    I sleep gently
    Until morning

    Morning and evening
    Sunny yellow and gentle blue
    Wash me clean and make me soar

  13. Cathy Sapunor

    Switchbacks

    The first part is the worst of the Lassen trail
    each time we start up the steep mountain
    we anticipate the view
    that makes the hike
    worth the work. The manzanita,
    now past bloom, frames a glimpse of distant sky.

    Oh, that’s what makes it worth it, too, the sky
    such a blue even bluer the higher the trail
    goes beyond the timberline, where only the manzanita
    grows on the mountain.
    Soon, we know, our hike
    will take us to the summit, the summit view.

    The parking lot below, our view
    is of our tiny car and tinier tourists squinting into sky
    looking up to see us and others on the hike
    up the mountain
    past the manzanita.

    Homely and prickly, bark peeling, the manzanita
    once had berries, but not now; the view
    we have of the bush growing on the upper ridges of the mountain
    is of red brown, not unlike the sky
    will seem when we leave the trail
    tonight at the end of our hike.

    Will anything different happen this time we hike?
    Will we converse in short, necessary breaths, shedding our skin like the manzanita?
    Will there be anything special to know along the trail?
    Will we be in a rush to get to the top, or slow to enjoy the view?
    You tell me. This is your sky
    today, for this time it’s you who has brought me to the mountain.

    This been my place, my mountain.
    And now you claim it as yours and lead the hike?
    You must want very much to please me. To see my sky
    as I have loved it like I have loved the manzanita
    smooth, and complicated. Let me always remember this view
    of you, you and life, ahead of me on the Lassen trail.

    When we come down the trail, mountain
    top reached and a shared decision made, oh–the view!
    Hike down with me, love, let me love you like the manzanita sky.

  14. Yoli

    I saved this one for last. Trying to get all the prompts done in the available time proved challenging and technically it is now May, but here it is…. Poem # 30! I did it! A poem a day, wow! Thank you for the challenge, Robert. I don’t even know how I came across this blog, but I’ve loved every minute. I’ve gotten away from writing and this experience has been amazing. Thank you to all the poets who shared their work, I truly enjoyed reading through all your poems.

    Can’t wait to see what’s next…

    LOVING

    I’ve always wondered about love.
    It’s such a tricky and complicated thing.
    It has nothing to do with facts and figures
    and I’m certain it’s where music comes from.
    The best way I could describe it to you
    it’s like cool skin warming in the sun.

    Or a bright, golden-yellow sunny
    day; leaves freshly green reaching, as if in love
    with the clear blue cloudless sky behind you
    stretching to be caressed. The only thing
    holding them close and keeping them from
    lifting out of the soil and rock, I figure,

    are their roots. Soaring across the grass a figure;
    the shadow marking it’s path under the sun.
    Could it knows that’s where life comes from?
    I wonder if there is somewhere a book of love.
    I wonder who would write such a thing.
    If I could I’d write one for you.

    Even though there are no words left you
    haven’t heard me use for you. I figure
    it’s the meaning of the thing
    that warms the soul like sunlight
    peeking over a horizon. I love
    all the reds and yellows emerging from

    that setting sun. Across the sky from
    fiery red to cool midnight blue, I see you.
    It doesn’t matter what about you I love,
    or that I’m all words and you are figures,
    or I’m the moon and you, the sun.
    None of that means a thing

    because love is more than just a thing.
    It’s more than where music comes from.
    It’s more than blue skies and orange-yellow suns.
    It’s more than me, more than you.
    It’s more than just facts, not just figures.
    Love is just love.

    And it’s love that makes or breaks a thing
    which I figure is already known from
    the way you watch me in the sun.

  15. Sara Diane Doyle

    Here is my "new" one for the month–I got the words from random people (to prevent my picking easy words). I’m not sure if it makes as much sense as I wanted, but I’ve learned with sestinas, they always sound way better after I’ve had sleep (they just grow on you).

    World of Wonders

    I wonder when the albatross
    lost all exhilaration
    in flight and dropped like a pinecone
    to earth? I can’t say, I was busy playing the xylophone
    for the revelers at the carnival
    and missed the arrival of this pearl.

    Most look inside an oyster for the pearl
    instead of looking in the albatross.
    It could be the new sideshow at the carnival,
    image the exhilaration!
    Your heart trips like scales on the xylophone
    and curiosity prickles like a pinecone.

    The seeds of the mighty pine lay protected in the pinecone,
    like the hard shell surround the pearl.
    We master being strong enough for pounding—bars on the xylophone—
    and so we can never fly with the albatross.
    Our heaviness defies exhilaration.
    The mundane becomes our carnival.

    Take me to the carnival,
    don’t bother me with the mystery of the pinecone.
    I can only pull exhilaration
    out of a man-made pearl.
    I can’t imagine the feel of wind under the albatross
    or hear the song you play on the xylophone.

    The world is like the xylophone
    being played at a carnival—
    lost in the confusion, like the albatross
    who is given a pinecone.
    A bird who know only pearls,
    when given seeds, finds no exhilaration.

    Return us to the point of exhilaration.
    Let us dance to the rhythmic beatings of the xylophone.
    Teach us how to find the pearl.
    Show us the smoke and mirrors at the carnival.
    Grow the forest hidden in a pinecone,
    and let us take flight with the albatross.

    For love is exhilaration and a never-ending carnival.
    And life is the sound of the xylophone and a many-layered pinecone.
    And joy is the pearl and the soaring of the albatross.

  16. Susan Bell

    (OK, this makes absolutely no sense, but here it is anyway. Probably the worst poem I’ve ever written, but definitely the toughest. I think it’s kind of a train of thought sestina based on what’s on the TV I’m currently sitting in front of.) 🙂

    Untitled Sestina

    The voice sings still in my mind. Ghosts
    tell a story of heartache and strife.
    So many lives lost on the lake that day.
    The ship sank to the bottom like a rock.
    The icy waters lay in wait as strong winds
    brought in unseasonably strong storms.

    I can sit and listen, sometimes all day,
    to the sounds in my head. The ghosts
    try to tell me stories of pain and strife.
    They spin tales of large rocks
    that fall from the sky, as huge storms
    build and spin, pushing out their winds.

    Sometimes I watch lightning strike
    as the rain is slanted by the wind.
    I search for words, and then my socks,
    since I can find nothing to say.
    I love clouds of all kinds, like ghosts
    they have so many wonderful forms.

    I watch the hunt every week, from
    9pm until 10. They try to find ghosts
    in the corners. Paranormal stuff rocks!
    Maybe I will see one some day.
    Until then the TV will have to do. Mind
    my words, I no longer ride a trike.

    The clock has stopped, it’s time to wind
    the little key on the back. Please stay
    for a little while. We can roast
    some marshmallows and talk of clocks.
    Whipped topping makes a wonderful foam.
    I must go home. Where’s my bike?

    My balloon flew away in the wind.
    Oh well, them’s the knocks.
    I watch the sea crash into a loam,
    and try to think of words to say.
    My friend Deb doesn’t like to boast,
    but she has the cutest little tyke.

    When you find a ghost listen to their strife.
    You can give me a shiny rock one day,
    if you’ll sit in the wind with me to watch the storms.

  17. A.C. Leming

    Ok, a couple of days late, and also on day 30 comments page.

    Viciousness

    I can’t get out of this vicious loop
    running through my head, like a bad book
    which won’t end, a waste of paper, of trees,
    of sunshine raining down out of the blue
    skies, summer sun beating down without a cloud
    to insinuate itself between it and you, no pause

    of thoughts which wind round and round, pausing
    for nothing, no rest, no stop, just loop de loop
    above, below and through the scattered clouds,
    moves the Red Baron would hesitate to book
    his plane through, high and low, out of the blue
    above, high above the sprouting trees.

    Those leaves, new offshoots on budding trees
    below the Baron, his thoughts have no pause
    as he maneuvers my thoughts through the blue-
    black murk that descends upon me. The loops
    my thoughts run around, the boulevards, the book
    they could file, like James Joyce describing clouds

    billowing overhead, underground. My mind reaches the clouds,
    the ephemeral, the chimera that hides behind trees.
    Those thoughts bind me to myself, like books
    are bound in leather and string, allowing me to pause
    as I flip the page. An unchanging, circuitous loop
    of connection between mind and body, blues

    and music, life and death, spirit that soars, blue
    and red and white, floating above as a cloud
    roils and boils as heat and thunder form a loop.
    An unending circle, whipping the limbs of trees
    as it churns the oceans, water pounding without pause
    as I flip these pages, lost in the clutches of this book.

    No flood of thought, no peace of mind fills me, booking
    none for the travel plans I form, the horn, blue
    notes spilling forth into the still air, no pausing
    for breath, no pausing for speech, the clouds
    overhead bearing forth sustenance for the trees
    underneath. No thoughts break free of this loop,

    unending, vicious loop, no thoughts end up in books,
    saving precious trees, avoiding the green earth blues
    poured forth under black clouds, circle overhead, no pause.

  18. Beth Browne

    Wow, this was the toughest one so far! I’m not sure it makes much sense, but I managed it, I think…

    Oh My Melancholy Sestina

    Between my feet is a puddle of tears
    I will read about in tomorrow’s headlines
    “Clayton woman found dead, husband sought.”
    The fear in my heart, nothing but sorrow trebled
    the skin on my cheeks growing wan
    as I slither to the floor feeling languid.

    It’s times like these in lethargy languid
    I rend at the fabric my fingernail tears
    outside the shadows grow wan
    and a shred of newspaper blows its headlines
    exposed as the folds trebled
    seeking the sunlight I had sought.

    But what is the thing I sought
    While I lay in the pool white and languid
    The light making fear seem trebled
    the water growing salty with tears
    refractions in the depths causing headlines
    draining blood from my face, so wan.

    Sun bleached newsprint matching wan
    “Man shot, wife sought.”
    is what is in today’s headlines
    but the words drip languid
    in their own mirror of tears
    the multitudes mass being trebled.

    Who knows what we’ll read in the headlines
    the woes of the world only trebled
    while I in my leisure lie languid
    the lights in my eyes growing wan
    who knows what misery sought
    alone in the ribbons of tears

    Whose claws shred and tear headlines
    whose troubles are sought and trebled
    while I linger on tiles wan and languid.

  19. janflora

    I hope it’s not too late to enter this! I started on Monday and finished late last night. I have to write in spurts! Thanks for the challenge! My first sestina, a lbit more somber than traditionally I think…

    April’s Sestina [with respect to TS Eliot]

    The sights we see in April
    make her seem so cruel.
    Her fits come in showers
    as she sheds her youth,
    shoots out signs of Spring,
    and leaves us to mourn

    empty nests. Together we mourn
    the cruelest crimes of April
    even while we welcome another Spring.
    It’s not her fault her nature is cruel,
    the impetuous season of youth
    that washes over all of us in showers

    of hormones, sweat and tears. Showers
    that show us how Nature mourns
    the days of her own youth
    that are numbered in April.
    Nature’s forces are often cruel
    and the pangs that from them spring.

    It happens every Spring:
    the news comes in showers,
    the words that seem too cruel,
    another cause to mourn.
    It was the month of April
    which produced this youth,

    though now I look back on youth
    as August eyes the Spring,
    through the haze, thinks of April
    and her cool, cleansing showers.
    It’s the little things we mourn
    that make the loss so cruel.

    It is Truth that is cruel,
    the reality show called Youth.
    Lest we have another day to mourn
    roll around again next Spring,
    take warning from the showers
    that rain down in April.

    (Before I accused April of being cruel,
    I danced in her showers, in my youth.
    Now Spring is the season I mourn.)

  20. AlaskanRC

    This was the first time I’ve ever attempted let alone heard of a sestina…my end product was far from what I’d imagined. It proved quite interesting.

    Deul Sides

    It hard to comprehend the world
    in which we live. Tender,
    caring, and full a beauty yet a Beast
    always lurks in the fabric of humanity.
    Woven in; is the good and bad. Such a Wonder
    it is that we continue to fight.

    In spite of the adversity we fight;
    working to create a world
    for the good of tomorrows children. Wondering
    if the darkest of threads can be unwoven. Tend
    our tasks and keep our faith. Without it humanity
    will suffer at the hands of the beast.

    Hidden in shadow stalking the weak. The beast
    preys on fear; never wanting to fight
    fair. If banded together, the good in humanity
    can out weigh the bad. A better world
    we will creative with tender
    hands. All rejoice in wonder.

    Faith such a wondrous
    weapon that the beast
    has no understanding. Tenderness
    though needed; must not hinder the fight.
    In the world
    which we life, the best and the worst originate from humanity

    We must remember this fact for humanity
    is the cause of the fight. A wonderful
    yet odd world
    this must be. Creating the beast
    as well as the fighters.
    Without an opposite never would the good shine true (in place of tender).

    Truth and tenderness
    must guide the goodness in humanity
    In a society torn in two. Fight
    in the light. Do not fall in awe of the wondrous
    and tenacious beast.
    If this where to happen lost would be the world.

    In faith the world will remain strong yet tender.
    Hold the beast at bay humanity
    even if you can’t fully comprehend the wonder of the fight.

  21. Carol -Amherst, Mass

    Finally. Man this one was hard.

    The grass is greener where?

    I hate loud clicky shoes
    They do so irritate me
    I wish I had a sharp axe blade
    I’d chop those heels right off
    And the ‘clickity clicks’ I’d no longer hear
    Just a slight ‘lathump lathump lathump’ past my space

    Her nose is brown just like her shoes
    She likes to spy on me
    Her bat ears take in all she hears
    Then she scampers to the boss’ space
    And tattles her tail off
    In my back she slips the blade

    Even so, I think I’ll choose
    To play it cool here
    I shan’t let anything bother me
    I’ll look outside my office space
    I’ll focus on the grassy blades
    I’ll turn my ego off

    Does the fence that faces opposite me
    have a greener grassy blade?
    Is the lush green view I see from here
    distorted and far off?
    Would occupying someone else’s space
    Be a more comfy pair of shoes?

    I am struggling right here
    Trying to build a stanza to fill this space
    I’m pretty much nodding off
    And being distracted by clicky shoes
    As I gaze out at the dandelions and grass blades
    Growing there just to pleasure me

    The brown nose caused a ruckus here
    The boss keeps checking on me
    Like a fly, I’d like to give her the shoo
    So she’d leave my writing space
    But that would likely tick her off
    And I’d be outside, looking in – me and the grass blades

    Right now my shoes are still attached to me
    I’ll take them off , to feel the cool grassy blades
    As soon as I get outta this here office space

  22. lyn

    My seven mile run interrupted by a Canadian goose
    Chasing people from the path along the stream
    To protect the ten goslings born this spring
    I detoured under the cherry blossoms
    And scared another goose taking a nap
    I need to find a different route for next time

    A fellow runner asked for the time
    Prepared to run off as ‘IT’ in a game of duck-duck-goose
    “3pm”. She says, “my daughter must be up from her nap”
    I let my MP3 player continue to stream
    While ideas for a new salad recipe bloom
    And my gait develops a new spring

    Mouthwatering I carve the fresh dandelion greens of spring
    Known to be a tonic from lore of a long ago time
    Picked while young before the first blossom
    And later plucking blossoms for wine, never to be served with the goose
    That at this moment is bathing in the stream
    Using his bill to fluff up the nap

    The endorphin rush refreshes me more than napping
    And I have more energy in warm breeze filled with scents of spring
    My thoughts meander like the stream
    Both backward and forward time
    I laugh at a memory when I acted like a silly goose
    Mistaking a compliment for love’s first blossom

    The pink blush on my cheeks still blooms
    And I close my eyes cursing it to be a nap-mare
    Not realizing he referred to the painting of Leda and the Goose
    I was too naïve to run from the predator waiting to spring
    A man whose experience superseded Father Time
    Hoping to coax me into skinny dipping in the stream

    Embarrassed to recall, I stumble and fall in the icy stream
    Catharsis, I allow my bad memories to wither
    Remind myself to forget the past and stay in the moment
    Freeing me to daydream and render nightmares to sleep
    New beginnings, the rite of spring
    Reciting and finding folk wisdom in the poems of Mother Goose

    Each experience is unique along Goose Stream
    Today’s is scented by cherry spring blossoms
    I’m soaked, ready for a hot bubble bath and then nap time

  23. Darla Smith

    I love a challenge and this challenge was definitely a good one.

    Missing My Friend

    Come home soon my special friend,
    I’m missing you more each day.
    Your absence leaves me feeling sad,
    my world is empty without you.
    You took away all the sunlight,
    now I’m living in total darkness.

    Don’t leave me suffering in darkness,
    I’m wanting you back my friend.
    Let me see the bright sunlight,
    I can’t face another gloomy day.
    My tears are falling for you,
    I’m feeling very lonely and sad.

    Don’t let me continue feeling sad,
    take me out of this darkness.
    I can’t stop crying over you,
    I miss you dearly my friend.
    I think about you every day,
    I need to see the sunlight.

    For months there’s been no sunlight,
    it’s absence is making me sad.
    I keep praying maybe one day,
    there will be no more darkness.
    I long for you my friend,
    my love is only for you.

    Each night I dream about you,
    and you always bring the sunlight.
    But when I awaken my friend,
    I’m once again lonely and sad.
    Take away all of this darkness,
    bring some brightness to my day.

    I’m left waiting here each day,
    with my tears falling for you.
    I’m lost here in this darkness,
    I crave to see the sunlight.
    I’ll not feel lonely and sad,
    once you finally return my friend.

    My friend please return one day,
    I’m very sad here without you,
    I need sunlight instead of darkness.

  24. ck

    Still working on my sestina. It’s called "Plan A" and I have the first and second stanzaz, but it’ taking me time. May not get it done by the end of today, April 30.

  25. Amanda Caldwell

    Learning to speak

    There was a good chance you’d be plain,
    inheriting my family’s too-big nose
    and contrastingly too-small mouth,
    and instead you pulled out curls
    that surround like a charming frame
    that face worth a thousand words.

    You should never take my word
    when I swear someone is plain.
    My judgment is insecurity’s frame
    an excuse to turn up my nose
    and let an arrogant lip curl
    while bitterness poisons my mouth.

    The petty justifications I mouth
    become my undeniable word.
    My jealousy and pettiness curl
    around my head, to others as plain
    as a pimple on a prominent nose,
    making my accusations my frame.

    There must be another way to frame
    the words that escape my mouth.
    I could breathe deeply through my nose,
    consider carefully each single word
    and make my meaning plain,
    embellishing only with loving curls.

    You, you with the shining curls,
    you have no pettiness to frame.
    Your emotions are always plain,
    sound coming out of your mouth
    just like a comprehended word,
    face speaking: eyes, smile, nose.

    You teach me what you know,
    how a relational aspect curls
    and dies with each sad word,
    and how I need to look past the frame
    to see the truth, the very mouth
    of every soul laid plain.

    It’s as plain as your nose,
    the way your mouth does that curl
    as if you frame your first word.

  26. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    When the rain
    Drops are spiralling
    Uncontrollably like a leaf
    You have my eyes captured
    Ready to send the energy
    Ready to live the music

    Slowly move to the music
    In your body always raining
    With many energised
    Thoughts, thoughts spiralling
    Towards you to be captured
    By your eyes, like a leaf

    Your fingers are leafing
    Through the pages of my musical
    Passions, always capturing
    My mind, always raining
    In my soul, always spiralling
    Always needing to be re-energised

    Feeling your energy
    Rustling through the leaves
    Running down that spiral
    Staircase, running to your musical
    Interlude, freedom raining
    From my heart you captured

    Never release me from your capturing
    Glances that energise
    My life, my life so dull and rainy
    So dead like a winter leaf
    So dead like an unfinished musical
    So dead I’m spiralling…

    I’m spiralling
    Back into your arms to capture
    Me in your essence, my music
    Intertwining with your energy
    Pulses, reviving my leaf
    Revitalising like rain

    If the rain were to spiral
    Like an uncontrollable leaf, I would capture
    It’s energy for you, and listen to its music.

  27. IleanaCarmina

    Hovering In My Addled Mind

    I really don’t want to just give up
    But his apathy leaves me to dangle
    On the edge, swinging my feet
    Before plunging into a pool of anger
    Hovering, like his hand pinning on my corsage
    Back when he was himself at the Winter Formal

    I don’t want to jump into that pool; make it formal
    Make it final with my fury as I fall upon
    Him in a ravening rage – that’s not courage
    It’s just me giving up, nothing left to dangle
    On the edge, just unthinking me in full anger
    Throwing myself in with both feet

    Unable to turn back or to turn it into a fait
    Accompli, an unseen triumph as I formally
    Spell out how he won’t change has angered
    Me and made me feel less like myself, just fed up
    And tired of being ignored and left to dangle
    On the edge of his life and who I could be – that corsage

    Maybe it is all back down to that corsage
    That moment when his touch lightened my feet
    And had me believing in him, my heart a tangle
    Of expectations that I never outlined or made formal
    So how can I expect him to live up
    To that when he didn’t know about it or my anger?

    Oh, that’s always the biggest danger
    Boys should be warned before pinning on a corsage
    That such a night could set them up
    For a big fall, a fall that’s several thousand feet
    Of tears and pain they will never see forming
    Until they are the ones left to dangle

    So I know I’m not going in, and I won’t stay to dangle
    Here for much longer, just until my anger
    Has simmered a bit so I can outline a formula
    For reclamation of that moment with the corsage
    But this time, I will let him know before my feet
    Go anywhere except to him to say what’s up

    And why I nearly gave up, and will no longer dangle
    Over the edge with my feet steeped in anger
    About a silly corsage and a long ago Winter Formal

  28. Justin M. Howe

    Shining Armor

    In this world, is there anyone you can truly trust?
    Who can you, when everyone is out to make a killing?
    You meet that special someone, who is simply lovely.
    All too quickly, one or both of you become distant.
    If it is the other, don’t you wish you could trade?
    All too quickly, she turns to another knight.

    It could happen in the dead of night,
    When even your eyes you can not trust
    You can’t sleep, for your love she has traded
    For the guy if you saw you would likely kill.
    You would chase him down if you saw him from a distance
    for stealing your soul, you’re only love.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve kept my true love,
    I continue to hold her all through the night.
    Though sometimes I’m accused of keeping my distance,
    She stays, and though I’m unworthy, gives me her trust.
    Of my heart, she has made the kill,
    Though revived, of her, I would never make a trade.

    For her, a life of solitude I have traded
    For eyes ablaze and skin so lovely,
    If anyone hurt her, I would likely kill.
    In my best shining armor, I would be her knight.
    If I did that, she would not question that it was me she could trust.
    More often than not, though, I choose to stay distant.

    I gather no comfort from my distance,
    For compassion and intimacy, I would gladly trade
    I am so undeserving of her trust
    Yet she stays, making me feel lovely.
    Yet I’m still awake at night,
    trying so hard for my timidity to kill.

    And why is it this hard to kill
    that thing which makes me seem distant?
    That would make me a brave and noble knight,
    chivalry being my trade,
    I would rescue the damsel, so lovely
    and in me, she would know she could trust.

    She could trust me to make that kill
    And keep her love close, never distant
    Worthy would this trade make me, to hold her through the night.

    -Justin M. Howe

  29. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    I think all the ones I’ve had time to read so far are brilliant! I’m particularly partial to Bill Kirk’s "Warrior", I am amazed how Nancy’s "Merlefest" manages to make the word placement sound completely natural, and I adore the ingenuity of Corinne’s use of words other than nouns and verbs, and her run-on lines.

    Sorry I don’t often have time to do more than post and run.

  30. Khara House

    Ooh … not really a fan of the form– but I’ll try it 😛

    “Skylark sinking into life”

    I’m fighting to stay alive.
    I bought a boat that now won’t float.
    I’m drowning in my life.
    I’m falling from the sky.
    I’ve forgotten how to fly.
    I’m trying not to die.

    Life’s page is stained: I die.
    A ream, a sheet, alive—
    an ink mark like a fly
    that buzzes but cannot float
    and drops down from the sky
    and vomits on my life.

    And once I realize my life
    is done with life and longs to die
    I cannot help but search the sky
    to find a star to keep alive
    but stars die, too, and sometimes float
    beyond the cosmic dusts that fly.

    The days, transpired, do all but fly
    the way in which I wish my life
    would learn to bubble, bounce, and float;
    to spin the web, to cast the die—
    to learn to fight to stay alive
    and skip that journey to the sky.

    I dream a vision of a vast sky
    blue world in which dreams and visions fly
    on wings like sparrows. They’re alive
    as things that I have not known in my life.
    One day, shot down by fancy’s end, they die.
    Their bodies land in pools of doubt and float—

    upon that murky water there, just float.
    They cannot tip their wings up toward the sky;
    and so like small abandoned hopes they die.
    They drown in my dream—my life—
    forgetting how to fly
    and how to stay alive.

    I fight to stay alive, but cannot float.
    I drown in life and like the wounded sky-
    Lark long to fly but, wounded, die.

  31. Sally DiUlus

    Emily, blessings sent to you and your family, and lift the light up to send you renewed energy.

    ** ** ** **

    Robert, writing the Sestina was certainly a challenge, to awesome to tackle last night at 11 p.m. However this afternoon I had a lot of fun with it. I hope I wrote it correctly. I know I followed the pattern to a T.

    PAD Challenge Day 28 Poetic Asides “Sestina” poem
    PAD # 28

    “Lucky Dog”©
    April 28, 2008

    On a late afternoon, one rainy day
    A certain ball of fluff arrived, a wonderful tale
    Lightning crackled, the road was flood water running
    No tornado in sight, I was feeling pretty lucky
    We were counting raindrops me and my girl
    Dancing in the rain one of her favorite things

    To do. Get your coat, Mommy and other things:
    Hats, umbrellas, rubber boots, I grabbed in a daze
    We ran outside drizzles falling on me and my girl
    And then the discovery, a happiness tale
    Like finding a bright new penny, all luck
    Was ours. Heading right for my child, wiggling and running

    A puppy leapt into her arms from running
    Fearful from the thunder, no collar or things
    The cutest little fluff, oh we felt lucky
    So touching these fine moments of my child’s day
    Licking her face, wagging her tail
    Eyes big and adoring at my sweet little girl

    Broke her heart, I did, I felt so bad for my girl
    Saying NO, to the only question repeatedly running
    From her tiny sweet mouth. Not two tails
    In our home would fit. I could only think
    Too much responsibility for this Mom in one day
    To the pound puppy went, sad and out of luck.

    Unbeknownst to me, Pound Guy and husband agreed luckily
    Adopt wiggly puppy upon return from Biz’ trip, to us girls
    Daddy, Girl, Pound guy Wally, and News Daily
    Took photos of the puppies and a story did run
    To get them adopted, all were, except one fluff of a thing –
    The one little puppy we found that rainy day.

    Down to the pound we all flew, left was one wagging tail
    Adopted, on the spot my child, Life seemed so lucky
    The puppy bounced then snuggled in my little girl’s
    Arms, licking her chin, barking a bit a few doggy things.
    Home we took her, out back they went running
    Our other dog joined in and fun they had that happy day!

    All through the days, continues our sweet puppy tale
    A certain ball of fluff running our lives we are so lucky
    Love and other things, brings lasting smiles from my girl.
    Sally DiUlus sdiulus@cefe.org

  32. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    ~Sending good vibes for Emily and her husband!~

    New Departure of the Prodigal Son
    or, Failure to Reconcile

    My poems, this April,
    have been telling a story.
    Now the month is almost over
    and also the story is done.
    I’m left between anger and tears
    as I contemplate my son leaving.

    Summer’s last traces are leaving,
    we are at the end of April
    and it ends in unshed tears.
    It would make a novel, our story,
    but I won’t write that; I’m done.
    One more poem, and then it’s over.

    When I hear planes go over,
    I’ll wonder if he is leaving
    his country finally, done
    with what he fashioned this April.
    He has his own story
    and that too shows me in tears.

    He has sneered and distrusted my tears.
    They are for him, and not over
    until the last day of my story.
    Between his arrival, my leaving,
    how many returns of April?
    39 of those years are now done.

    Ah well, what is done is done,
    and cannot be mended by tears.
    It rained the first half of April
    until his visit was over;
    the sun returned with his leaving.
    I could turn that into a story.

    I don’t know the end of our story
    but I want the tale to be done –
    the telling. Let us be leaving
    the passion, the pain, the tears;
    let the whole nightmare be over
    along with the last day of April.

    Oh April! Your complex story
    is over; his email said, "Done."
    As for tears … he was always leaving.

    © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2008

  33. Sheryl Kay Oder

    One line is horrible, and there will be no poetry award for this story, but at least I finished it. Hooray!

    My goal was to flesh out the other side of the conversation poem I wrote the other day. I had to add some detail in order to have 39 lines. My son had a job with a local village. He was to flush water into some pipes under the street, and all went well with most of them.

    Then—well, you read the poem.

    Flushing the Routine

    He thought the day would be routine
    when he left home wearing his new cap.
    The new task was to flush
    water through the pipes to keep them clean.
    He stood in the street, protected, of course
    from oncoming cars. It was time to work.

    His boss had explained how this would work.
    Within an hour or so it would be routine.
    Before turning on water so it could course
    through the pipes he removed his cap.
    Unlike them, it was new and clean.
    Down the drain he did not want it to flush.

    Going from corner to corner, his face turned flush.
    It was good to have a job, but this was much work.
    He hoped his efforts would indeed make clean
    the pipes and that he could keep his routine
    as systematic as possible. Then he would cap
    off this day with a good dinner after staying the course.

    He lunched with friends enjoying the main course.
    One of them had a new job and was flush
    with excitement, knowing this was the cap
    of her education, which had involved hard work.
    There were many tasks new far from routine
    As she talked and talked he forked his plate clean.

    After lunch there were more pipes to clean
    He was truly happy for his friend, of course,
    but working for the village was more routine.
    Looking at all the debris that would flush
    down the drain, he was glad others had done their work–
    like the guy who made sure all the pipes had a cap.

    But on one of the corners there was no cap,
    So soon more than the pipe with water was clean.
    Someone (not him) had not done his work.
    Soon the sidewalk buckled under the course
    of water and all the debris he tried to flush
    from the pipe. This big mess was hardly routine.

    For want of a cap the daily routine
    would soon flush his boredom clean
    and, of course, this was all in a day’s work.

  34. Gratia Karmes

    It’s going on eleven
    I must get up at seven
    Shorter lines
    Fewer words!
    And sestina rhymes
    With nothing

    Six, not seven
    Little lines
    Tiny words
    Need not rhyme
    No sense, nothing
    What evil muse made me choose “eleven”?

    As I browse the words
    What a meaningless word, rhyme
    Sestina must mean no siesta, nothing
    Forget about going to bed at eleven–
    I’ll be up til seven
    Somebody, throw me a line!

    There is no rhyme
    Not one, I mean nothing
    That glues the word eleven
    Back to seven
    I’m drawing the line
    Here. No more cruelly incoherent words.

    But it’s only words
    Nothing
    Stops my efforts,even elven
    (hah) magic number seven
    there is no muse of one-liners
    this sword
    Of pen isn’t
    So mighty
    I digress! Where’s the rhyme?
    Again, nothing.

    One more stanza, alas,nothing
    Inspires; It is five to eleven,
    that is no joke here comes 7
    a.m. will the line
    “I was up writing senseless words
    a sestinea, don’t you see?..Rhyme?
    well, no…” when it comes to excuses this one, given to the boss, equals nothing.

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