Posted tagged ‘embarrassed elephant’

Mea Culpa. Blown Sestina. (Feels Bad But Could Be Worse.) (No Casualties)

September 28, 2011


In the early years of this millenium, I used to console myself when I made a mistake with the thought that I hadn’t invaded Iraq. (The idea being that if even supposedly “expert” teams of ex-think-tank leaders can make extremely problematic and terribly consequential decisions, I should cut my self-acknowledged dim wits some slack.)

It feels flippant to use such a consolation in the case of a poetic mistake, that is, the omission of a line in a poetic form. I could perhaps look for solace in less bloody, and perhaps more current, comparisons, such as “Hey!  I didn’t invest in credit default swaps.” Or, how about, “I didn’t push Greek debt.”)

A plain old admission of “I blew it” makes a lot more sense.

So here it is–I blew it. My “sestina” posted yesterday is missing a line in the third stanza. This stanza only has five lines rather than the requisite six; the missing repeated word is “air.”

My only excuse is I wrote the poem in such extended scribbles (actually on a big index card while walking) that I scribbled over my little reminders related to the ordering of the end words. (I had posted them in pencil in the margin of my index cards.)

Of course, the poem is salvageable (if such a thing even matters). I can re-work the third stanza. I am also pretty sure that the additional line will make the poem better. My sense is that traditional forms became traditional because they have a certain ring–a kind of innate rightness, charisma.

So far, unfortunately, I haven’t had the time or the strength of mind to make the changes. (Embarrassment takes a certain hold, as in, that elephant up there is blushing.)

My apologies to all who complimented me on the good use of the form!