The Sestina

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heinzs
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The Sestina

Post by heinzs » Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:15 pm

A difficult form, being fairly rigid in parameters. Should be six sestet stanzas with the same ending words in a fixed formula, followed by a tercet utilizing all 6 words.

Here is an example of a sestina attempt by our own Tom Watson:

A Farmer's Tale

In traveling down these country roads, I could write a book
Rolling over these sway back hills, I could tell of a town
Where the seasons are painted in a field of pumpkins
Where progress is not known, at least not by hands on a watch
Progress is measured by field hours, the amount of picked potatoes.
And news comes from backyard fences, and gossip they sling.

I could write of a farmer in debt, plowing with arm in a sling,
Mothers up at dawn, before preparing meals, praying from the Book
Tell tales of teen girls, working, serving hash of meat and potatoes;
While dreaming their dreams of life and love outside the small town.
And mention young boys, putting up scarecrows for their eternal watch,
And Silly contests, to lighten the hearts, of who has the largest pumpkin.

While the children run in groups, searching for the Great Pumpkin,
Young men, strapping and strong, measuring how far they sling
Tree trunks, cleared from needed land, under government watch;
Private land, yet owned by government stipend in the debtors book.
Tales of poverty, families forced away from the growing ghost town
By seasons of drought and holidays celebrated by bread and potatoes.

Stories of misery, pain; of hope no larger than the eye of a potato;
Stories of family, love; faith and courage; carved in holiday pumpkins;
Stories of Nativity scenes and colored lights across a small country town;
Stories of worshipers, in a church where a ceiling cross was slung;
Stories of broken hearts; backs and lives, but always the held Book.
Stories of worn ruts; dust and diseased soil that can only be watched

A story, to be sure, of day to day things you may watch
On the news or read about while pealing your breakfast potato.
Seeing a dusty family, in a dusty pickup, when returning a library book.
You may have seen headlines, when picking up a Halloween pumpkin;
Maybe on the internet, a news item about a new found ghost town;
Or a sad report of murder / suicide in a barn by hanging from a noose sling.

Oh I could painfully write this story and you could live it in a book,
As I lived it amid pumpkins and potatoes, and sat in dust storms to watch
My parents slowly die, and then move into the newly found ghost town.


***********************************
This is an excellent attempt and a close one for someone's first try. Note that there are only 5 sestets and the tercet is missing the word "sling" (or equivalent).
Last edited by heinzs on Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Debbie
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Heinz

Post by Debbie » Sun May 29, 2005 5:11 pm

Heinz this one had me so intrigued and It was so picturesque, I saw all the pleasantness...then you integrated the pain and truth into this...

An amazing man you are to do such fine work..

:bow: bow: bow:
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Post by heinzs » Sun May 29, 2005 9:52 pm

Actually, Debbie, this is a sestina by Tom Watson... I'm sure he'd be pleased to hear your comment.

H.

:lol:
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Debbie
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Heinz

Post by Debbie » Mon May 30, 2005 11:11 am

thanky Heinz I shall check it out...
you're an angel did you know that?
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Debbie
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Heinz

Post by Debbie » Mon May 30, 2005 11:15 am

Heinz...is it the one called Finding Forevermore? if it is I've read it and it also is so beautiful...the two of you are so gifted...thanks again Heinz..
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Post by heinzs » Mon May 30, 2005 1:08 pm

No, Debbie. You've missed the point altogether. The poem in this post (The Farmer's Tale) is a poem by Tom Watson being introduced by me as an example of an attempt at writing a sestina. At the end I note that there is a sestet missing and one rhyming word from the tercet. This was being used as an example of sestina construction... and it's actually a great poem by itself (though not technically a sestina).

:lol: :lol:
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Post by Debbie » Mon May 30, 2005 1:45 pm

Heinz..called it blonde reading too fast or just plain tired... :lol:
thanks dear heart...what would I do with out you...I see it at the top...By Tom Watson..

I'll clarify this quickly...

thanks friend....
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Post by heinzs » Mon May 30, 2005 3:41 pm

I'm personally tickled that you liked the poem, but Tom deserves the credit for it. Glad you've figured it out...


LOL



:mrgreen: :cool:
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Debbie
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Post by Debbie » Mon May 30, 2005 4:48 pm

Tom Watson this is for you....

Tom this one had me so intrigued and It was so picturesque, I saw all the pleasantness...then you integrated the pain and truth into this...

An amazing man you are to do such fine work..

I was all mixed up thinking this was Heinz..well Heinz fixed me up and finally put me in the right direction. :lol:


I do hope you get this message..I tried to find this Farmers tale in the forum but can't seem to locate it....maybe it was pruned..so here it is ..I love the story...it is so awesome and I love you and Heinz dearly..the two of you are my guardian angels in the Pages..

love Deb..
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Letter (A Sestina)

Post by Shane » Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:35 am

I

And now, goodbye, my precious sweet love
for I must go. As darkness descends upon this ragged land
I rub my tired eyes and think of you so far away
I can bearly see what I'm writing anymore in this light
The sun is almost gone now and the moon is in the sky
This hard, savage land so far from you will sleep now


II

This God forsaken war, a year on now
has taken all my hopes and joy and love
and my dreams for you fly away into the sullen grey sky
The death and destruction raging in this poor lonely land
has faded the warming sun to a dirty tragic light
But my love for you makes the pain go away


III

With you, my darling wife, so far away
I can only deal with what's in front of me now
The joyous moments and bright happy delight
of comradeship and moments of brotherly love
that can only be found in a brave bold land.
I see these moments in prayers to the sky


IV

As bombs fall and planes fill the sky
I can only think of my home far away
The giant machines wage fear thoughout the land
and my eyes and ears close and pray that now
because you are my wife and my true love
I may be able to sleep until it is light


V

But now, my love, in this fading shattered light
I stare into the darkened pitchblack sky
And think about all that I love and could love.
My thoughts for your sweet touch, with my sleep, drift away
And, my love, I must sleep and leave you now
My dreams and thoughts fill my head here in this land


VI

As I lay here and dream about the sadness in this land
and how war has faded the morning light
All I can do is hope and pray for you now
Sleep well, my love, and as you look into the night sky
Please dream for me so far away
As I for you, my soft precious love


In this war ravaged land, My love reaches for the sky
and to you so far away, I pray for there to be light
and all I think of, my darling now, is your sweet undying love





Shane :cool:
Last edited by Shane on Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by heinzs » Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:35 pm

Most auspicious indeed, Shane.

:cool: :cool:
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Post by Shane » Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:34 pm

Thanks Heinz :mrgreen:



Shane :grin:

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Re: The Sestina

Post by Tom Watson » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:58 pm

Wow, haven't been here in a long while...I do recall correcting my error and reposting the "Farmer's Tale" but not here...so I am copying it and pasting it to keep the flow of how it should have been presented:
Farmer’s Tale


In traveling down these country roads, I could write a book.
Rolling over these sway back hills, I could tell of a town
Where the seasons are painted in a field of pumpkins
Where progress is not known, at least not by hands on a watch
Progress is measured by field hours, the amount of picked potatoes.
And news comes from backyard fences, and gossip they sling.

I could write of a farmer in debt, plowing with arm in a sling,
Mothers up at dawn, before preparing meals, praying from the Book
Tell tales of teen girls, working, serving hash of meat and potatoes;
While dreaming their dreams of life and love outside the small town.
And mention young boys, putting up scarecrows for their eternal watch,
And Silly contests, to lighten the hearts, of who has the largest pumpkin.

While the children run in groups, searching for the Great Pumpkin,
Young men, strapping and strong, measuring how far they sling
Tree trunks, cleared from needed land, under government watch;
Private land, yet owned by government stipend in the debtors book.
Tales of poverty, families forced away from the growing ghost town
By seasons of drought and holidays celebrated by bread and potatoes.

Stories of misery, pain; of hope no larger than the eye of a potato;
Stories of family, love; faith and courage; carved in holiday pumpkins;
Stories of Nativity scenes and colored lights across a small country town;
Stories of worshipers, in a church where a ceiling cross was slung;
Stories of broken hearts; backs and lives, but always the held Book.
Stories of worn ruts; dust and diseased soil that can only be watched

A story, to be sure, of day to day things you may watch
On the news or read about while pealing your breakfast potato.
Seeing a dusty family, in a dusty pickup, when returning a library book.
You may have seen headlines, when picking up a Halloween pumpkin;
Maybe on the internet, a news item about a new found ghost town;
Or a sad report of murder / suicide in a barn by hanging from a noose sling.

Oh I could painfully write this story and you could live it in a book,
As I lived it amid pumpkins and potatoes, and sat in dust storms to watch
My parents slowly die, and then move into the newly found ghost town.
My head bent down, pulled by the dust cloth of a guilt bearing sling;
For I walked away as my father continued plowing up rock potatoes
And mother, ever tired eyes, with loving heart made her pies of pumpkin.


You will see in my book, destiny return me to again watch,
As beyond the barn holding guilt fresh in molded potato bags slung
On rafters, tumbling weeds and dry pumpkin seeds blow through town.

A very belated thankyou to Heinz and my dear :angel:

Tom
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Re: The Sestina

Post by Tom Watson » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:59 pm

Shane, that was a terrific example with a catching story.
:thumbsup:

Tom
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"Whispers of Love" a book of poetry expressing love of the heart and spirit is released worldwide on August 11, 2009. Visit my home page at
Books From Grace for more information or Amazon.com

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Re: The Sestina

Post by Tom Watson » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:03 pm

Okay, here is my latest bit of silliness, sestina style:

The Sestina’s Way


I have found a fun challenge in the
The styling and creation of a standard sestina.
It may be that my muse has
Gone crazy, slipped its poetic gears and found
That there is more in life than rhyme, for its
Only natural to present words in the normal way.

We just need to find a way
To see how we can make the
Word fit enough to find its
Place in the newly created sestina;
To match, somehow, the sound found
Near-by is chance, with the theme the writing has.

I think the main difficulty has
Been to keep control, letting the muse have its way;
That being done, I have found,
The form will follow the
Design and style of your sestina
And the meaning, alone, will be its.

I mean, of course, by saying “its”,
You will find that it has
Your muse’s design for a sestina
With words placed in such a way
That when arranged correctly, the
Meaning and depth will be found.

Whenever a suitable challenge is found,
With each line ending in its
Word, meant as arranged, to be the
Place your creative mind has
Set up, whether by purpose, or given a way,
By chance, you may see your own sestina.

I like creating, by chance, a sestina;
Seeing how my mind has found,
Through luck or pure design, a way
To set the lines endings in the manner that is its,
And to finish properly, with the words it has,
Hoping that not one of them is “the”.

The best manner, for me, I’ve found,
Is building a Sestina form from its
Beginning, where word one may naturally lead the way.



Tom
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"Whispers of Love" a book of poetry expressing love of the heart and spirit is released worldwide on August 11, 2009. Visit my home page at
Books From Grace for more information or Amazon.com

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