I've been hearing a lot about sestinas lately, a form I was oblivious to just a few months ago. The other marvelous poets that worked on the Sonnet Crown with me are beginning to talk of writing sestinas together. I am studying the form. It's intimidating to say the least. Wikipedia says,
"A sestina is a highly structured Poem consisting of six six-line stanzas followed by a tercet envoy or tornada, for a total of thirty-nine lines. The same set of six words ends the lines of each of the six-line stanzas, but in a different order each time."The order of the end words is woven in a complex patterned further described as "kneading bread", where the first and middle end words of each stanza fold over and under repeatedly in a braid. I can not visualize this or keep it in my head even with an ABC diagram, so I was happy to find this site that is an end word generator for sestinas. You chose your six end words carefully, making them flexible and broadly definable, and then you go to town.
I playing with it. I don't have anything pounded out yet, but we'll see what happens. Today I want to share this sestina written by Elizabeth Bishop. Here is just the first 14 lines:
Sestina by Elizabeth Bishop
September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,
It's time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle's small hard tears
Friday Poetry is at Trisha's Miss Rumphius Effect today. Enjoy!