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Here it is, my sestina - a form I described and defined the other day. It contains emotional truth, but little factual truth, at least for me - I am not sick of winter at all, and am quite happy with yesterday's large snowfall. Also, I'm not going to China or Tibet, although there was a period earlier this week when my sweetheart and I were considering it, but only because we had misread the pricing for a river cruise. Alas.

Without further ado, my poem, which borrows from several Shakespearean plays:

Freeze, bitter sky, and blow, blow winter wind
Did Shakespeare speak of March, which as a lion
comes roaring into being with its hoarse
but penetrating voice? These gusts could break
your spirit like a roof tile. Winter’s rays
do not ameliorate things in their turn,

can’t pierce gray clouds that gather as earth turns
itself around the nearest star, as if to wind
a spool of wool around itself. We raise
our collars, pull our hats down, shovel lines
through driveways, sidewalks, till our backs could break.
Cold desiccates our lungs, leaving us hoarse.

A horse, a horse - my kingdom for a horse!
to take me far from snow. I’d like a turn
at lying on a beach, my own Spring Break
though I’m too old. If I could, I would wind
the clock back. Take more trips. Go see the lions
in Africa, or mountain temples. Raise

a little hell. It’s not how I was raised.
of course. Put through my paces like a horse
on show, made to reject my inner lion,
who ceased to roar as years passed. The return
of growls and rumbles, swelling like the wind
outside makes me believe that I can break

old patterns after all. I will not brake
this time, will not stop till old walls are razed.
Why not go feel the Himalayan winds
sweep through Tibet, see clay soldiers and horses
who’ve waited centuries to have their turn
at battle, fighting with the strength of lions?

I am not made of clay — why stand in line
for “someday”, when that day may never break?
Far better to plan now, to take my turn,
move through this brave new world, bask in sun rays
that break across the Great Wall like a horse
turning its face into the morning wind.

I’ll have my turn, find pluck like Frank Baum’s lion
to go. Wind at my back, I’ll take a break,
enjoy life, raise my voice until I’m hoarse.
I will not stand for any other course.

I should note that my sestina deviates from the rules by including a fourth line in the envoi (final stanza), which insisted on being there.

You can find other sestinas by my poetry sisters by clicking on the links below, or other Poetry Friday posts generally by clicking on the box:

Andi Sibley is at A Wrung Sponge.

Laura Purdie Salas is at Writing the World for Kids

Liz Garton Scanlon can be found at Liz in Ink

Tanita Davis is over at Fiction, Instead of Lies

Tricia Stohr-Hunt is found at Miss Rumphius Effect.





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Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Mar. 6th, 2015 02:14 am (UTC)
Sestina Joy!
Brave, brave poet you are to tackle this in iambic pentameter. I found this to be a daunting task, but you've handled this remarkably and make it look easy, though I know it's anything but that!

I love that you are a rule breaker and think that last line is absolutely necessary.

I'm quite fond of "A horse, a horse - my kingdom for a horse!/
to take me far from snow." However, I most love the notion of finding pluck.

Thank you for sharing this amazing poem about taking charge and getting your life back. You've just given me new inspiration to do that!
kellyrfineman
Mar. 6th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Sestina Joy!
Not sure I was brave so much as operating on default mode - I like the changes you and some of the others made, which feels more natural.

Hope you find some pluck today. (I'm still working on it.)
Andi Sibley
Mar. 6th, 2015 11:25 am (UTC)
I can't see you rejecting your inner lion at all, dear Kelly! (But I love the image). You brought us from snow and ice to the Himalayan winds on the Great Wall. Perfectly cheering!
kellyrfineman
Mar. 6th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
We all reject our inner lions now and then (or now and now and now), don't we? Thanks for your kind words!
lpsalas
Mar. 6th, 2015 12:40 pm (UTC)
from Laura Purdie Salas
Put through my paces like a horse
on show, made to reject my inner lion,

earth turns
itself around the nearest star, as if to wind
a spool of wool around itself.

clay soldiers and horses
who’ve waited centuries to have their turn
at battle, fighting with the strength of lions?

Oh, my goodness. Kelly, these are stunning images. Yes, we WILL have our turn. We will take it!

Laura
kellyrfineman
Mar. 6th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: from Laura Purdie Salas
Carpe diem!
TS Davis
Mar. 6th, 2015 03:25 pm (UTC)
I am not made of clay — why stand in line
for “someday”, when that day may never break?


SO, so good.
I think that lion has just been stalking for awhile, not silenced - intent. And ready to pounce.
kellyrfineman
Mar. 6th, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC)
We shall see about the lion, but thanks!
jamarattigan
Mar. 6th, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC)
*thunderous applause*

Kelly, this is amazing! I love the strength, the sentiment, the eloquence. Also love how you've used Shakespeare's words to posture your thinking (great use of lion and horse throughout).

For what it's worth, I do not think you need the final 4th line in the last stanza. :)
kellyrfineman
Mar. 6th, 2015 10:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, Jama!
Jan Godown Annino
Mar. 6th, 2015 09:56 pm (UTC)
sestina on Poetry Friday
Kelly, This is a call to introspection & resulting motion in a poetry form that many of your humble readers such as myself haven't bested, let alone tried. It gallops away with clarity. Appreciations for sharing.
kellyrfineman
Mar. 6th, 2015 11:00 pm (UTC)
Re: sestina on Poetry Friday
Thanks, Jan, for your encouragement!
Linda Baie
Mar. 7th, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
Kelly, this is lovely, all the way through! I've written sestinas with my adolescent writers & they find it a good challenge & love the idea of writing a story, too. They're not always beautifully crafted like yours, but ever interesting from young students. I love "as if to wind/a spool of wool around itself" and that ending, inspiring with the extra line...
kellyrfineman
Mar. 9th, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
Thanks, Linda - and how awesome that you do this with teens!!
(Deleted comment)
kellyrfineman
Mar. 9th, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
Thanks!
Mary Lee Hahn
Mar. 8th, 2015 02:00 pm (UTC)
Love the spirit here! I especially admire how you don't end thoughts at the end of lines. I'd like to get better at that.
kellyrfineman
Mar. 9th, 2015 02:12 am (UTC)
Gotta love enjambment (and wrapping between stanzas, too). Thanks, Mary Lee!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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