Posted tagged ‘sestina about lost son’

Another Sestina? Yes! “Seeking”

September 27, 2011


I have been thinking a lot about poetry lately. This is partly because I’m supposed to be working on a novel! But also because I’ve been in contact with a couple of very supportive websites for online poets. This poem is written for the “open link” night of dVerse Poets Pub, which also inspired the form.

The sestina, for those who don’t know it, is a form consisting of six six-line stanzas whose lines end with the same six words, repeated in a somewhat confusing cycle. The last three-line stanza, called the envoie, also uses all six words.


It was heat so hot it cut the air
into panels of swaying bend and warp,
her gaze into off-set swathes of view;
heat so hot that it blotted out the sun,
passing off white noise as summer sky;
heat as hot as any she’d not felt,

for the weather did not burn but lined with felt
her day, her lungs, her movements through the air,
enclothing its tight fist around the sky.
So very hard to breathe a weave and warp
that were weighted not with light but sun,
which, even as it seemed to hide from view–

only a smear in the red-orange view
of dusk, the pink of dawn–made itself felt
as a chemical ball of flame, a sun
of some far planet that in time/space warp
had circumvented the Earth’s true sky.

Oh where, oh where, she wondered, was the sky?
Its hue, its blue, the newness of each view,
the healing that could ease the twist and warp
that tugged at all she thought, at all she felt.
Oh where, oh where, she wondered in dull air,
was he who once was called her only son?

In truth, of course, he still was called her son.
The names of things not found under the sky
remain their names, like lyrics to an air
whose tune is lost, like paintings of a view
long since blocked out (by trees, let’s say, who felt
their limbs took precedence). In the warp

of her wandering mind, even the warp
of branches that curved and craned for sun
was conduct consciously planned and felt–
for all was sentient, live, under the sky,
while also dead. This special point of view
appears to the human for whom to err

has been divine, who’s felt the loss of sky
that held a son, a point of view
so sharp, it limned the warp of missing air.

P.S. For those interested in process–I did not have a clue of what I was going to write when I started only that I wanted to try another sestina. So I focused on a few good repeating words, and started out with a line (more or less) from the novel I am supposed to be working on (which does not have a story anything like this.) Oddly, I did not think about “err” as a homonym till the second or third draft.

(As always, all rights reserved.)