Sestina–6×6+3=39 (that's math)

So yeah, I’ve been meaning to post something about the poetic form known as the sestina for quite some time. It’s actually one of my favorite forms. You pick 6 words, rotate them as the end words in 6 stanzas and then include 2 per of the words per line in your final stanza.

Let’s pick 6 random words: bears, carving, dynamite, hunters, mothers, blessing.

Here’s how the end words would go:

Stanza 1
Line 1-bears (A)
Line 2-carving (B)
Line 3-dynamite (C)
Line 4-hunters (D)
Line 5-mothers (E)
Line 6-blessing (F)

Stanza 2
Line 7-blessing (F)
Line 8-bears (A)
Line 9-mothers (E)
Line 10-carving (B)
Line 11-hunters (D)
Line 12-dynamite (C)

Stanza 3
Line 13-dynamite (C)
Line 14-blessing (F)
Line 15-hunters (D)
Line 16-bears (A)
Line 17-carving (B)
Line 18-mothers (E)

Stanza 4
Line 19-mothers (E)
Line 20-dynamite (C)
Line 21-carving (B)
Line 22-blessing (F)
Line 23-bears (A)
Line 24-hunters (D)

Stanza 5
Line 25-hunters (D)
Line 26-mothers (E)
Line 27-bears (A)
Line 28-dynamite (C)
Line 29-blessing (F)
Line 30-carving (B)

Stanza 6
Line 31-carving (B)
Line 32-hunters (D)
Line 33-blessing (F)
Line 34-mothers (E)
Line 35-dynamite (C)
Line 36-bears (A)

Stanza 7
Line 37-bears (A), carving (B)
Line 38-dynamite (C), hunters (D)
Line 39-mothers (E), blessing (F)

While many poets try to write sestinas in iambic pentameter, that is not a requirement. Also, when choosing your six end words, it does help to choose words that can be altered if needed to help keep the flow of the poem going. For instance, take a look at the six end words chosen above:

Bears could be the noun or the verb and singular or plural; it could also be modified to bares, and I could possibly even get away with changing it to beer or beard.

Carving could be made plural and be a noun or verb; it could also be turned into craving or cravings–maybe even caving.

Dynamite has less potential for change; or does it? Dynamite could be used as a noun, verb or adjective. It could also be changed into dynamo or possibly even be changed to mite, miter or might.

And so on. I think you can see what I’m getting at.


I got into sestinas as a result of taking a creative writing: poetry course at the University of Cincinnati taught by sestina master craftsman, James Cummins.

I’m going to go ahead and humiliate myself by posting one of my first ever sestinas (possibly, THE first ever sestina I’ve written). I was 18 at the time, so it truly is horrible.

“Senor Eastwood”

I can hear your blood
It’s making noise
It is celebrating
The way you took that man down
With the guns in your hands
Now you can finally breathe

You begin to breathe
When you notice the blood
You cover with your hands
Your mouth mumbling noise
As your knees drop down
No more celebrating

The mortician is celebrating
As your lungs hypobreathe
He’d like to lower you down
After you run dry of blood
And run void of noise
He’d like to cross your hands

All a result of the man’s hands
Not quick enough for celebrating
He didn’t get any of that noise
He didn’t get to hypobreathe
And he didn’t notice any blood
He just went down

He got to take you down
With him and his hands
Just quick enough to draw blood
You didn’t get much celebrating
As now you don’t have to breathe
And you’re deceased of noise

And now do you hear noise
Did you go up or down
Does it hurt to not breathe
Are you still trapped with your hands
Is there any celebrating
Is there any blood

I really would like to know about the blood and noise
For though the celebrating has all calmed down
I’m old and my hands are shaky as is the way I breathe

About the only thing going for this piece is that I did keep the end words in the right order. Outside of that, I picked horrible end words. Beyond that, I was still writing very, very, VERY abstract. Oh yeah, and there’s like totally no punctuation. O, am I blushing!


Here’s a little more on sestinas from around the Web:

* Wikipedia entry

* The Sestina Verse Form, by Ariadne Unst

* McSweeney’s Internet Tendency sestinas page featuring several examples by many, many writers (including Professor Cummins)


Check out Poetic Forms archive.

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37 thoughts on “Sestina–6×6+3=39 (that's math)

  1. kh42711


    Have you ever seen
    a creature so lovely,
    emerging from embers
    the essence of life,
    a mockery of death.
    The fire feathered Phoenix?

    If you gaze upon the Phoenix
    once you have seen
    the shadow of death,
    revere your great loves
    reflect on your life
    for everything burns to embers

    and smoldering embers
    will bear the Phoenix
    breathing fire into life,
    a sight to be seen
    for nothing so lovely
    could justify death.

    But yet we suffer death
    and no one remembers
    how lovely
    the Phoenix
    was seen
    bursting into Life.

    So renews the cycle from life
    to death
    in shadows unseen
    Ashes to Embers
    Fly away Phoenix
    on wings so lovely.

    The world so lovely,
    reminds us to live
    For if we find the Phoenix
    and are sentenced to death
    we will forget those glowing embers,
    our tragedy unforeseen.

    But if you can see hope hiding in love
    remember that life
    The Tempest of death, renews the Phoenix.

  2. GarrinJost

    The Failure of the Antelope

    It is my words that I’ll be eating
    This calm journey, slow to embark
    The perfect poem’s campfire glow
    The uncracked nut of dead stillness
    All bowed and wrapped and set to amaze
    And still, I must include the antelope

    Now, the unfettered mental stillness
    The sun-stain on eyes, inspired glow
    Success’s fetal balm, yet to amaze
    Still that goddamn unused antelope
    The thought of completion and eating
    The poem uncooked, yet to embark

    Still, the hero or heroine has to embark
    The story full of marrow for joyous eating
    Alike, the gravity of the fearful antelope
    Alight and alive, frantic eye glow
    The always promise of death’s coming stillness
    food to the watcher, endless amaze

    Why oh Why run, promised antelope
    Your pulsing blood helps only to amaze
    Hushed breath of mouth’s perfect eating
    Dark, holy journey- only to embark
    And yet, the future keeps it’s only glow
    The coming moment breeds a silent stillness

    Your boldness does help the senses wild amaze
    We both long always for heart’s stillness
    Calm yourself, we are poised to now embark
    We are keen to the inequality of eating
    We both are one, mild antelope
    We share the same crop of Nature’s glow

    The antelope has been eaten, expired glow
    The word and thing that’s won is only stillness
    Impossible, holy, grand, deadly stillness
    One’s failure, meant to always amaze
    The doomed journey, why embark?
    Success is eaten, and we are only eating

    The antelope failed, so we are eating
    To again embark, no, stillness conquers
    The glow is not lost, nature is to amaze.

  3. lina

    dumpster diving

    in the dumpster
    the coyote tears into raw chicken
    while the girl waits
    with her pack open
    for what’s left

    she isn’t afraid
    the coyote’s yellow eyes are soft
    and its teeth are not
    interested in her

    she listens to him swallow
    and grunt
    toss aside bread and milk,
    swallow egg yolks
    from the carton

    she stands still
    stars blinking in the sky
    waiting for the coyote to finish
    so that she
    can start to eat.

  4. Michelle Hed

    Fear of Wolves
    (six words: alone, free, sees, intelligence, magic, mischievous)
    (I used the format as put forth on the page)

    She stands alone
    but free,
    surveying all she sees
    with keen intelligence
    and the magic
    of a bit of mischievousness.

    Feeling a streak of mischievousness
    stirring from too much loneliness,
    she shivers with the magic
    of a plan to use her freedom
    and her intelligence
    to play a joke on what she sees.

    She runs toward her vision,
    the imp of mischievousness
    tickling her insides as her intelligence
    tries to rear his head but she is no longer alone
    and the pack is on the loose, free
    to cause a little magic.

    One by one they howl a little magic
    into the night sky just to see
    what goes jump in the night, snickering freely
    with smiles full of mischief
    as together and then alone
    and back, they zero in on the not so intelligent

    animal that jumped in the night. As the intelligent
    pack moves so quietly, like magic
    toward their elusive but lonely
    prey, they track it by sound, then sight
    and with mischievous
    glee they pounce before it can get free!

    No longer free
    it struggles against this intelligent
    pack, seeing their cruel, mischievous
    grins, until as if by magic
    they seem to disappear, no longer seeing
    the tormentors, he is alone.

    His fear has fled, he is free of their spell, their magic;
    he now understands with intelligence, and his mind sees
    that which he misunderstood for mischievousness, was really an attempt to not be alone.

  5. Ivy Merwine

    I can’t get my mind around this form.
    My words won’t jumble into this ill fitted dress.
    It doesn’t feel natural.
    I can’t conform to it this time.
    It will have to conform to me.

  6. Ivy Merwine

    I can’t get my mind around this form.
    My words won’t jumble into this ill fitted dress.
    It doesn’t feel natural.
    I can’t conform to it this time.
    It will have to conform to me.

  7. Sascha Aurora Akhtar

    I don’t think the poem is half-bad Robert! And wow whats wrong with abstract ai? he he…or no punctuation….
    "Beyond that, I was still writing very, very, VERY abstract. Oh yeah, and there’s like totally no punctuation. O, am I blushing!"

  8. Megan Jensen

    (This was REALLY HARD – my first one ever and it’s pretty bad…I sound like I crazy person. Maybe that should be in the title 🙂 )


    I’m worried I might be lost
    I don’t recognize anything I see.
    I’m worried it’s starting to get cold
    I can even see my breath.
    Good thing I remembered my coat
    I may be here a long time.

    Before I left I should have checked the time
    And a map so I wouldn’t get lost.
    At least I remembered my coat
    And my glasses so that I can see.
    I need to keep taking deep breaths.
    I hope out here I don’t catch a cold.

    My fingers are starting to get cold.
    Gloves help with that most of the time.
    Perhaps I can warm them with my breath
    Because I’m pretty sure my gloves are also lost.
    At least they aren’t anywhere I can see.
    I should have kept them with my coast.

    I really do love this coat.
    I wear it even when I’m not cold.
    If you were here you could see
    How it looks so good all the time.
    I guess if you were here I wouldn’t be lost.
    I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.

    I can tell I’m nervous by my shortness of beath
    And my palms that my sweat coats.
    It’s pretty scary to be lost
    All alone outside in the cold.
    I wonder if I’ve been lost a long time.
    There’s still nothing and no one I can see.

    If you were me right now you would see,
    If you blinked my eyes and breathed my breath,
    You too would be worried all this time
    If you wore my shoes and my coat.
    You too would have hands in the cold
    If you too were outside lost.

    So now that I’m lost and I’m here outside I can see
    Since I don’t like cold or my scared shallow breaths,
    I should keep a map in my coat all the time.

  9. W. Yvonne O'Neill

    A sestina
    never heard of it
    never had formal poetic education
    but did as I was told
    looked up the links
    checked out the formula
    started to write one
    thought I had it figured out
    but it didn’t work for me
    so I filed it away for future contemplation
    and possible succes
    and decided to take the
    second choice
    for now.

  10. Tanja Cilia

    Apples of My Eye!

    Filippa, Gala, Ariane, Falstaff, Gavin – Apples,
    One of which you ought to take each day
    To send the doctor on his way, and fast
    And make sure he keeps on going,
    Because you’re not sick, you’re well
    Apart from hay-fever caused by orchard flowers,

    Holstein, Orkney, Dawn, and Empire flowers
    Scented blooms of mellifluous names of Apples
    Drinking nectar and ambrosia from the bottomless well
    Blessing the earth with their beauty, day after day
    Whichever way the market for them is going.
    And farmers hoping their crops will sell fast

    Better than cereals to break the fast,
    Perfect for pot-pourri, the dried flowers
    Containers of apples, to the markets going
    First in the list, A-is-for-Apples
    Give me an Esopus Spitzenberg, any day.
    And maybe a Lord Lambourne and a Rajka as well.

    Lore says eating apples will keep you well,
    Or if you’ll sick, they’ll cure you fast.
    I’d attest to that theory, any day
    Despite my allergy to apple flowers,
    There are hundreds of varieties of Apples,
    Which ones you choose, depends upon where you’re going.

    Eating raw, pureeing, or stewing, was what I meant by “going”
    By the way… you can bob for apples, at festivals, as well…
    But, for your teeth’s sake, steer clear of toffee Apples
    Because gone the doctor, come the dentist, and fast!
    You can make a tisane from the flowers
    To soothe you ate the end of a tiring day.

    So you see, this fruit is useful, night and day,
    It would be good to keep the tradition going,
    Whether for the fruit or for the flowers,
    Or for the shade the trees give, as well….
    It’s good to get the word around, and fast
    For mind, body and soul, the best fruits are Apples.

    The well fills, and quenches the thirst of Apples,
    And always their flowers turn night into day
    Making times of sadness go by fast, and urge them to keep going.

  11. Tracy Chiles McGhee


    Every day he picked a flower
    for his love
    during Spring
    trying desperately to change
    her empty season
    devoid of hope.

    All he could do was hope
    that she would flower
    just like the season
    and from his enduring love
    she would change
    before the end of Spring.

    What was it about Spring
    that drained her hope
    and caused such change
    in her desire to flower
    and experience the love
    he showed from the start of the season?

    Maybe it was not her season
    to spring
    into love,
    to embrace hope,
    and to accept his daily flower
    and no matter what this would not change.

    Perhaps change
    is not synonymous with the season
    and perhaps not every flower
    is born in Spring
    full of hope
    ready for love.

    Real love
    doesn’t force change
    but keeps hope
    that as the season
    passes, water from the spring
    helps to grow the flower.

    So the day he didn’t bring a flower to his love,
    he saw her by the spring and noticed a sudden change.
    In her eyes, he saw hope for the coming season.

  12. Othello Gooden Jr,

    My journal
    By Othello Gooden Jt.

    I woke up today with the aid of technology
    My alarm played an annoying tune
    I turned on my computer
    I began writing
    The more I write—my determination
    Becomes the reason

    As I begin to reason
    In the age of advanced technology
    The issue of making a living off composing many tunes
    A secret passion of creating something extraordinary on the computer
    My own experiences are written
    Into a story that I am now determined

    As long as it makes me and others happy determines
    Whether or not the reason
    People will read a story about a girl living in a society advanced in technology
    Her struggle to making a living off playing tunes
    Those after her do not know of this thing she programmed on her computer
    I continue writing

    Drawing influences from what others are writing
    Some do it for the shear enjoyment—that too counts as determination
    Don’t we have a reason
    To continue in our endeavors with the aid of technology?
    Some are inspired by old tunes
    While others draw from something found through the internet on a computer

    I sit at my computer
    This poem I’m writing
    I reflect on my determination
    To get published is my reason
    So people will see my work with the use of medium technologic
    They’ll hear of my other work in composing many tunes

    In a wide genre of tunes
    Composed on my computer
    Skills learned from the high school where music writing
    For a grade was my determination
    To get a diploma was my reason
    Or was it just to survive in this world of advanced technology?

    With the aid of technology, one can make many tunes
    On the computer, this is the universe I have solely written
    My determination to finish my story and get published is my reason.

  13. Nanette M. Buchanan

    Was It Love

    She thought it was love
    She questioned her heart
    Although she felt broken
    She was neither naive or blind
    As others are when love is new
    She just needed a start

    A night on the town an eight o’clock start
    He treated her to dinner, red roses a sign of love
    He touched her, hand, her mind, her heart
    The other walked in the conversation broken
    A deliberate attempt to disguise,she wasn’t blind
    The introduction of the two, just a friendship, someone new

    She recognized the face, her profile, fresh and new
    Another relationship, another start
    Yet she wanted to be loved
    He had stolen her heart
    Who was this woman, so lonely and broken
    She should have known, was she blind

    She stood waiting for a reason, did he think she was blind
    Dinner for two, it was always the same nothing new
    Stopping her from speaking before the tears would start
    Yes he was in love
    She was indeed a part of his heart
    He was sorry their life, their love was broken

    She sat wondering would she be next, as the intruder’s pain broke
    She could see he played on her emotions, hoping she was blind
    She had become a replacement, his trophy, so new
    This was not how it was to start
    Was this revenge, was this love
    Who could really hold the key to his heart

    It was about him, this woman was a part of his heart
    He had cheated and now she stood saddened and broken
    How could she have been so blind
    How did she think this game was new
    This was a repeat of the old nothing new
    She still didn’t know anything about true love

    She felt no love, she felt empty in her heart
    They both were now broken and blind
    As he left both the old and the new, for another start

    I think I did this right…..

  14. Marcia McLees Bogaert

    Marriage Storm

    it is but sand,
    they are but coconuts
    and I am left holding the bag
    shall I throw it over the boat
    or hold to toss into this street
    to be run over by a car?

    it won’t be the yellow car
    buried in blown sand
    piled onto the street
    bombarded by coconuts,
    nor the landlocked boat
    filled with another unpacked bag.

    dare not call me an old bag
    or it will be me who drives the car
    or pilots the boat
    across rivers of sand
    over speed bumps of coconuts
    along the now deserted street

    once lined with palms, this street
    is no more than a ripped trash bag
    spilling its garbage to mix with coconuts.
    you wait for a brave soul to hire a car
    to traverse the water soaked sand
    to carry your heart to the love boat

    but will you board the boat
    or head down the street
    to bury your head in the sand
    leave me holding the bag,
    to pay for either the car
    or a lovely bunch of coconuts?

    yes, without you, it may be coconuts
    of which I sing from a chartered boat
    or another man’s sporty car
    cruising along nature’s fir lined street
    your cash in my alimony bag
    time running more like mud than sand

    yes, this storm blew sand and coconuts,
    will one hold the bag or both catch a boat?
    I’m hoping for same street, different car.

  15. Kyhaara

    At first, when I looked at it,
    The words were jumbled.
    They made no sense, just
    Danced around my page in a salsa.
    Tempting and teasing me,
    But taking so long to move into focus.
    I take a deep breath and try to think,
    Clear my mind of obstructions,
    Negative energies,
    And tangent memories.
    Then, I see how it will work,
    How I could compose a sestina,
    My first,
    And, perhaps,
    My last.

    (That’s my poem about a sestina, in case I fail to write one :P)

  16. Mario

    About the Sestina

    Certainly the biggest challenge
    Of the challenge so far
    Writing a sestina
    Is a draining experience.

    First, you need six strong words
    Words that can be interchangeable
    Malleable for multiple use
    Then you must put them together in a coherent story.

    Otherwise, you’ll get no glory
    No poem worth its weight
    A sestina is certainly difficult
    For a novice poet to grasp.

    Yet as challenging as it may seem
    Like most hard work, the outcome feels good
    A sestina is something
    One can get used to after many tries.

  17. Mario

    Space Sestina

    They prepared and fortified the rocket
    For the trip into space
    The astronaut focused his gaze
    On the distant star
    And the steady beam
    That reigned down with the light.

    The ship took off as the sky grew light
    And they began to rocket
    Into the sky like a wooden beam
    The military escort gave them space
    So the astronauts could become the stars
    To those below who gazed.

    The pilot monitored the controls as he gazed
    Into the field of light
    Made by the blaze of stars
    As they sped along in the rocket
    Bound for deep space
    On a straight shot like a beam.

    When they reached orbit the planet decided to beam
    A fellow astronaut down to where they gazed
    As the ship came to a stop in deep space
    The pilot made sure all was silent in the rocket
    Before they sent down their new star.

    The astronaut made his way down through the stars
    On the beam
    Looking up at the rocket
    That was locked in his gaze
    He soon looked down and into the light
    Of the large planet, which had plenty of space.

    Then, without warning, the rocket was hurled into space
    The pilot gazed up as it hurtled into the stars
    It was the last thing he saw before being struck by a beam of light.

  18. S. Thomas Summers


    Really, I am not stupid.
    Stupid, I am not – really.
    Am I really stupid? Not.
    Really stupid? Not am I.
    Not stupid? Really, I am.
    Please forgive me.

    Please forgive me.
    Really, I am not stupid.
    Not stupid? Really, I am.
    Stupid, I am not – really.
    Really stupid? Not am I.
    Am I really stupid? Not.

    Am I really stupid? Not.
    Please forgive me.
    Really stupid? Not am I.
    Really, I am not stupid.
    Stupid, I am not – really.
    Not stupid? Really, I am.

    Not stupid? Really, I am.
    Am I really stupid? Not.
    Stupid, I am not – really.
    Please forgive me.
    Really, I am not stupid.
    Really stupid? Not am I.

    Really stupid? Not am I.
    Not stupid? Really, I am.
    Really, I am not stupid.
    Am I really stupid? Not.
    Please forgive me.
    Stupid, I am not – really.

    Stupid, I am not – really.
    Really stupid? Not am I.
    Please forgive me.
    Not stupid? Really, I am.
    Am I really stupid? Not.
    Really, I am not stupid.

    I am not stupid nor do I really
    feel I ever was – Not! I am – I
    swear I am. Please forgive me.

  19. Jenny Doughty

    The weight of weather

    It broke my heart in February to see
    the branches broken from my apple tree –
    split through the trunk – plainly it couldn’t bear
    the weather’s weight. Perhaps I shouldn’t dare
    replace it with another, let it grow
    only to lose it in a fall of snow.

    There’s no avoiding falls of winter snow:
    each year it shocks afresh each time I see
    the drifts pile up remorselessly and grow
    high by the driveway and bow down each tree.
    Great clumps make boughs hang low – I hardly dare
    to look at what white winter fruit they bear.

    We’re not in the wild woods – no wolf or bear
    will howl at us behind the driving snow –
    but in the depths of winter there are deer
    that forage in my yard; they come to see
    if there are withered apples on my tree
    too high for me to pick, and left to grow.

    When the whole world is white the landscape grows
    alien to life: when all the garden’s bare
    and like a statue every barren tree
    is sculptured in tormented shapes there’s no
    escape from death, but underneath I see
    fresh signs of hope if only I can dare

    reach out for them, can keep in mind the dear
    thought that beneath such surfaces may grow
    a hidden life that now I cannot see.
    I know that even though these boughs are bare
    and broken with the winter weight of snow
    there is a life beyond one apple tree.

    Although I’ve lost for good one lovely tree
    there will be more if only I can dare
    to plant once more and care not if the snow
    will fall on it again. I’ll watch it grow,
    watch in the spring the blossoms it will bear
    carpet the ground just like a snowy sea.

    In summer I will see my apple tree
    start to bear fruit, as long as I can dare
    to let it grow despite the falling snow.

  20. Sharon Chaffee

    A lesson in today’s poetry writing.

    Never heard of a sestina,
    never wrote one til today.
    I had to try it out,
    although at first I felt dismay.

    Well here it is,
    I hope I got it,
    If it’s a problem
    Then a sestina it’s not- ah.

    This took a bit of work!

    Here is my sestina.

    Chef’s Finger

    There was only one chef
    performing the carving
    of well over 20 roasts,
    for hundreds of students
    at this celebration dinner,
    with a deep cut on his finger.

    A heavy towel wrapped around his finger,
    he now felt as an awkward chef,
    and bleeding, as he served dinner,
    performing clumsy maneuvers while carving
    portions of meat to hungry students
    hankering for a few slices of roast.

    The chef felt he was going to roast,
    from the pressure on him with the injured finger.
    The line in front still forming more students.
    He felt more of a juggler then a chef,
    holding the top of the roast while carving,
    trying to maintain a grip to serve dinner.

    While many were now seated for dinner
    enjoying the succulent roast,
    the injured chef was still carving,
    the towel showing red from his finger,
    expression of pain showing on the chef
    and noticed, within the line of students.

    Moments of concern were expressed by students
    that this could be a tainted dinner,
    where the roast had some blood of the chef’s,
    you can not differentiate blood of chef from roast.
    Is there a piece of meat recognized as finger
    on someone’s plate which had been carved?

    The chef only wished he was done carving,
    as the line seemed to only form more students
    which only created more pain in his finger.
    If only there was an end to this dinner,
    for behind him waited five more roasts,
    which he wished were five other chefs.

    But the chef continued carving
    while the roast fed students,
    who wondered, did the dinner include chef’s finger?

  21. Ruth Y. Nott

    One Gorgeous Fabric

    You will find that certain fabrics
    are just too gorgeous for cutting
    into tiny pieces to make a quilt,
    adding one color to another for a pattern.
    There really should be no competition
    between the objects of your admiration.

    So, why do we hold such admiration
    for just one piece of gorgeous fabric?
    Certainly others could compete.
    Somehow you always end up cutting
    all the other prints into patterns
    but you can’t make this one into a quilt.

    Are you really sure you need a quilt
    to lay on your bed and admire?
    Perhaps you could choose a dress pattern
    to use with this gorgeous fabric,
    but that too requires pinning and cutting
    so is there really any competition?

    It’s all in your head this competition.
    This fabric will never be sewn into a quilt.
    It will never be laid out for cutting.
    It was only meant for your admiration,
    for your love and comfort this magical fabric.
    So just stand in awe of it’s fabulous oriental patterns!

    Touched with gold and silver threads the patterns
    in print are without equal, have no competition
    from any other brand or style of fabric.
    As haiku to the poet, so is oriental fabric to the quilter –
    a thing of beauty, commanding admiration,
    soothing the soul, not meant for cutting.

    Why would anyone think of cutting
    these delicate flowers and free flowing patterns.
    Just look at the ladies who stop to admire
    then glance despairingly at the competition.
    These ladies who measure and cut their quilts
    have fallen in love with this one gorgeous fabric!

    This fabric that never was meant for cutting,
    perhaps for a backing, but not for patterns.
    has no competition here, just glowing admiration!

  22. Bozena Intrator

    walk, talk, air, energetic, poetic, writing

    how about a walk

    once a day I go for a walk
    with a friend and we talk
    we get some fresh air
    it makes us feel energetic
    after that I get more poetic
    in my writing

    then I get into writing
    but I think about the walk
    I ask myself how to get poetic
    instead to write I think about the talk
    and soon I stop feeling energetic
    I get up and open windows to get some air

    I breathe in cool air
    and feel ready to start writing
    go to my desk felling energetic
    but then I think about the morning walk
    and think about the morning talk
    I wish to start to feel poetic

    but I don’t feel poetic
    I can’t write songs that a radio could air
    I call my sister and we talk
    instead of writing
    I try to make my sister go with me for a walk
    I tell her that afterwards she will be more energetic

    she asks me why I don’t feel energetic
    and very poetic
    after my morning walk
    she asks if I didn’t get enough fresh air
    since instead of writing
    I called her and we talk

    what is wrong with that, that we talk
    and yes I do feel energetic
    but I can postpone my writing
    a look at the lake would make me write more poetic
    I get inspired by the color of the lake and of the air
    so she should go with me for a walk

    she gives in and we walk, we talk
    we breathe in deep the fresh air, we get energetic
    I start feeling poetic, I go home and start writing

    Bozena Intrator

  23. Julie Mahfood

    An Evening in Santa Monica

    Amy mistook Jay’s signal and placed her hand
    in his, and as he was a kind, gentle sort of man
    he let her walk like this until the evening light
    had changed. The end of the day was the regular
    time they set out together, and how Amy loved
    the way the summer sunset lit Jay’s long face.

    When it was turning dark, Jay did an about face,
    began walking back the way they came, his hand
    removed from Amy’s as he didn’t know she loved
    him. She knew he was a very private, quiet man,
    the type of man who needed to keep to a regular
    schedule, and this knowledge made her feel light.

    When they were standing under Amy’s porch light,
    Jay noticed how the frosted bulb made Amy’s face
    look soft and young, her skin bright like any regular
    teenager’s, and he decided suddenly to take her hand
    in his. He kissed her then. She knew he was the man
    for her by the firmness of his lips, and she also loved

    his wet, searching tongue. Jay decided that he loved
    her, and so he pressed Amy to his body with a light
    grasp, and Amy said, “How does it happen that a man
    like you is so slow in lovemaking?” Then Jay’s face
    turned red, and he pulled his arm off her, and his hand
    also. “I wish I had an answer other than I am a regular

    guy. I didn’t realize how much you felt.” In her regular
    fashion, Amy invited him in, but this time Jay loved
    that she did. He said yes, so Amy took his damp hand
    while she found her key. Inside, she turned on a light
    in the living room, and when she saw that Jay’s face
    was alive with interest, she said, “Come, sweet man,”

    and she pulled him in the direction where any man
    might want to go. He was happy to see there a regular
    room, not some girlish space where he may have to face
    outgrown memories. Amy undressed. Jay instantly loved
    the way her waist curved inwards, hips jutting in a light,
    hourglass figure. He moved towards her, put his hand

    around her waist, the other up to her Greta Garbo face,
    which he caressed with his light fingers, then a regular
    kiss, soft. Amy loved the slow, shy ways of this soft man.

  24. Yvonne Wills

    This will definately take some time for me to work out…
    it is 9:52 am I will leave this open all day so write in bunches.
    But I did figure out my words, and they are: liberty, travel, people, September, avenue and sugar.
    Not sure how I will feel about this (sestina) I am anxious.

    Sometimes I feel that people
    eat too much sugar
    I walked down the avenue
    On a beautiful day in September
    thinking about lady Liberty
    What a wonderful day to travel

    How I love to travel
    My favorite month is September
    How I adore walking down that avenue
    Checking out all of the snazzy people
    With their different choices of sugar
    Going to visit lady Liberty

    Lady Liberty
    Sweet like sugar
    Large amounts of people
    Will travel
    In September
    Down that avenue

    Third Avenue
    I travel
    like many people
    take for granted, the liberty
    like confectionate sugar
    in September

    My birthday is in September
    I eat the sugar
    for liberty
    the travel
    down that favorite avenue
    all types of people

    make us believe in liberty
    and travel
    in September
    that famous avenue
    with all types of sugar!

    Oh, would you notice the time. I did have a few issues
    (the poem wasn’t one of them like I thought!)
    My air condidioner leaked, then the floor got saturated
    and I got hungry…but I finished!
    A personal triumph!

  25. Wanda Gray

    Sestina to Nature

    I watch the brown rabbit.
    as his whole body stretches.
    to reach tasty green leaf.
    Above him in the tree.
    A creature of nature.
    obeying his instincts.
    We follow our instincts
    and run like a rabbit
    before the fury of nature
    as it storms and stretches;
    bending supple tree
    until it has lost each leaf.

    The land turns over a new leaf
    commanded by ancient instincts
    to renew and repopulate each tree
    with growth and birds, so rabbit
    returns and once again stretches
    to embrace his nature.

    Calm or wild, it is still nature
    for vegetation to again leaf
    as for the sky it stretches.
    Does it grow from habit or instincts?
    Or just to feed a little rabbit
    as it extends its body up to the tree?

    The zephyr breeze stirs the tree.
    It sways and bows as is its nature.
    Haven for bird and food for rabbit.
    Hiding nest behind curtains of leaf.
    Shielding nestling following instincts
    as for food its open mouth widely stretches.

    Then dry, dusty land stretches
    around and beyond each tree
    awakening survival instincts
    of man and all of nature
    when all that remains is brown leaf
    and rain has fled from land and rabbit.

    Arid stretches destroy much nature.
    No longer does tree put forth a leaf.
    All instincts dead, just like the rabbit.

    Two For Tuesday

    Two for Tuesday has been such fun.
    Twice as much as only one.
    Until today’s sestina I tried
    Leaving my brain completely fried.
    Slowly I will recover, I’m sure,
    Just in time to write some more.

  26. Rick

    key to success

    Don’t ever give up on your hope
    Because that’s the winnings of fear
    Stick it out for your dreams
    And allow yourself to succeed,
    If you ever feel like crashing
    Hold on, remember that’s the art of passion.

    Concentrate on your passion,
    Let it thrive off hope,
    Drive so fast you can’t crash,
    Cause you can’t feel the fear,
    That’s the main key to success,
    Chasing after your dreams.

    God thanks for my dreams,
    May you let me follow my passion.
    My goals in life are to succeed
    While believing in faith and in hope.
    Show me how to be fearless
    Even if my feelings get crushed.

    A comet out the sky is how I’m crashing,
    When I’m chasing my dreams.
    Holding back no kind of fear,
    Since this is my passion.
    Running off of plain hope,
    Im promised to succeed.

    It’s a well achievement to succeed,
    And still okay to unfortunately crash.
    But the real fire is the hope,
    To keep alive the dream.
    That’s when you consider it a passion,
    In witch knows no meaning of fear.

    You will not beat me fear,
    I know I will succeed.
    Since this will always be my passion,
    The blood that runs it doesn’t allow crashing;
    I could never give up on my dreams,
    There’s way to much promise and hope.

    The hope will never let me fall to fear,
    I will always dream of goals and push forward to success
    No mistakes for crashing on the road to my passion.

  27. Therese Haberman

    Woman and Beast

    by Therese Haberman

    She wanted to follow his lead
    Blushing like a newly opened flower
    Her eyes sparkled with magic
    Blush from her cheeks did not drain
    She was a lovely young woman
    Playing games with a true beast

    He was not always a beast
    To entice her he would lead
    Enraptured by this woman
    He would love to de-flower
    His thoughts were like a sewer drain
    He pulled rabbits from his sleeve as cheap magic

    The beast had lost he real magic
    And so became this beast
    All of his goodness had drained
    Now only his evil could lead
    From his black sleeve came a flower
    Meant to distract this young woman

    But she was more than a child, this woman
    Possessing some magic
    Of her own, she looked beyond his flower
    Into the true heart of the beast
    Her eyes did lead
    Down his naked drain

    Oh such pain deep in his drain
    She took pity, did this woman
    She sought to lead
    Him into the good magic
    To make him a beast
    No more, but a flower

    Again he offered his flower
    Which she threw down the drain
    And evil was defeated within the beast
    He had found a true woman
    Who saw through his false magic
    And took the lead

    They would lead their lives to flower
    Using magic only for good, his pain did drain
    Life was good for the woman and her man, the former beast.

  28. halfmoon_mollie

    okay, a sestina:

    dreams in nights of silk and wool

    The sweetest thing in springtime is the nights
    Light lasts later and the darkness settles soft
    More like silk around the shoulders than wool
    Intense, the perfume of opening flowers
    Spring calls you from sleep that you may dream
    On a window seat, the lawn below spread with moonlight

    What else is it for, the moonlight
    But to weave its way through the nights
    To turn the harsh shadows of daylight soft
    And in winter, spread its beams over blanket wool
    Perhaps to bring the memories of flowers
    To someone tucked up tight and set to dream

    There is no springtime softness in wool
    But yet it can be softened by the moonlight
    Coarseness turns to petal-softened flowers
    In long and cold winter nights
    Snowflakes seen from windows may look soft
    But daytime comes and soon destroys that dream

    All through the heat of summer one might dream
    Of snowy nights and blankets made of wool
    But springtime’s nights are altogether soft
    shot through with silver threads of moonlight
    the sweetest thing in springtime is the nights
    perfumed with riots of newly blooming flowers

    late summer brings a fading of the flowers
    and somehow even brighter beams of moonlight
    as if someone is telling us that nights
    may soon forgo the silk and call for wool
    still as with every season we will dream
    in sleep with breaths of slumber ever soft

    the nights of spring and summer, although soft
    and heavy with the redolence of flowers
    filled with gold and silver shades of moonlight
    each person calls upon their dream
    whether they are silken threads or wool
    dreaming’s how most humans spend their nights

    may dream filled nights all be soft
    May gathered wool be sweet as gathered flowers
    May you always dream in the magic of moonlight

  29. Ray Alkofer

    Sestina Stuff

    Robert, the deed’s been done
    You’ve sucked out all the fun
    "Sestina" I’m to write
    The rules are far too tight

    I choose not to conform
    And will not thus suborn
    The premise that I might
    Enjoy this form to write

    My mood this style wrecks
    A Sestina so complex
    Though it pains my heart
    This task I will not start

  30. Sandy Dickson

    Poet Challenge # 28 April 28

    Thank the Lord this is Tuesday,
    As I get a second choice.
    I must study sestina
    To give it a proper voice.

    Confusions ring through my mind.
    I thought I had it at first,
    Then I read your second part:
    Bearing different words with verse.

    So I opt for second choice
    And thank God it’s an option,
    But I’ll ponder sestina
    For possible adoption.

    Maybe resubmit later,
    After I can digest it.
    In the meantime, here this is;
    No sestina? You guessed it.

    Sandy Dickson

  31. Miriam Hall

    Sestina to a Dawn Death

    Over the dawn lake, the college seniors rowed.
    Susan tells me it’s a fluke
    that she joined the group. Never intended be at the bow,
    paddling, stronger than her brother Joe. The sound
    of her alarm clock at five
    am bringing her closer

    to God. She was raised close
    to a Christian summer camp, but her family had a row
    with them when she was only five.
    One of the pastors threw his fluke
    too far and it bottomed out the sound
    they both shared. There’s no repairing that with a bow

    or a prayer. Her family became atheists, bowed
    only to the morning sun, and she closed
    her door to the dawn until twenty. Her snores sounded
    like ships off shore, her brother told me once, rowing
    and splashing and mourning, a whale fluke
    in their shared bedroom. Never awake before five

    after twelve on the weekends, five
    minutes after lunch was over. Not even her brother’s bow
    and arrow with the rubber cup fluke
    tip could come close
    to getting her up early. Row
    after row of wrinkles on her sheets, sound

    asleep. Now the sound
    of early sparrows gets her up at five
    after four each morn. Rowing
    is what keeps her going, tying bow
    knots and pulling rigging. Closing
    fish heads around the fluke

    accidents of an awkward oar that, by fluke,
    killed it dead. The sound
    of her mom calling brought themall closer
    together after their dad died. Five
    tumors, all together, bowed
    under the weight of each other.
    Each other’s voices on the phone rowed

    them through the fluke of five
    years of sound, bowing
    grief. Closer than ever to life, the ultimate row to hoe.

  32. Allen Taylor

    Another way you choose words for your sestina is to play off the sound of the word. For instance, you might choose "ate." The possibilities are nearly unlimited as you could use versions of longer words that end with those three letters, such as:


    or use words that sound like ate, but are spelled differently, such as

    Haight-(and enjamp Ashbury on the next line)

    You can see where I’m going. I love the sestina too!


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