Written for: dVerse Poets Prompt – Poetry Form: Sestina (posted by Victoria Slotto)
Allons-y to Provence in the south of France, and back in time to the 12th Century. The form is thought to have been developed by a troubadour, “a developer of verse,” Arnault Daniel. As a troubadour, Daniel would have set his verse to music since the theme was often focused on love.
The form is quite complex and the poet is held to a number of strict requirements, based on the repetition of six words which follow a given pattern of repetition as the end words of each line.
The sestina contains six stanzas, each with six lines and concludes with a three line envoi. The pattern of the form is as follows:
6. B,D,F, E,C,A
7. BE, DC, FA (The envoi of three lines with BDF midline and ECA as the end lines.) Note: The Poetry Foundation gives this variation on the envoi: FB, AD, EC. Use either one.
Rather than rely on rhyme, the end line repetition creates a sense of rhyme. If you are really up for a challenge you may opt to choose rhyming end words. As for meter, it is optional, though you can work with iambs.
A key to success lies in working around a theme, thus choosing appropriate words. If you decide to try for an iambic poem, keep the end words in mind so that you end up with an accented final syllable.
You cannot always count on the moon,
to provide ample light in the dark.
A crescent is hardly a clear thought,
though they sometimes resemble magic.
Come and sit with me for a spell.
When light is right I will give you my heart.
Remember when you gifted me a chocolate heart,
while we sat together under a full moon
that was bewitching as a spell.
You knew I liked my chocolate dark.
Once I attended a crowded magic
show, incomparable to the moon, I thought.
Yes, I have given serious thought
to your proposal; you have touched my heart.
No, I do not wonder if you still possess magic.
It is just that I see myself free in moon-
light. There’s a face, a wink, on a dark
side of moon, like two silhouettes that spell
freedom by standing apart, and also spell
love for each other. That is my thought,
though it may sound like I am practicing dark
arts. Let me assure you, I see a heart
glowing brightly in the light of that moon.
Sometimes it’s fun to let a little magic
into your life. Look up at the sky’s magic-
a moon, stars of pitchers and dippers spelled
out as shapes we trace under a lit up moon.
There is no guarantee I will be free. Thoughts
occur whether alone or with you, my heart.
I have wallowed in living on the dark
side but there are those times when dark
becomes oppressive, and I crave a magic
wand of light in the shape of a heart.
I hope you do not think I’ve placed a spell
on you. Why not allow us a bit more thought
on the subject. Soon will come a full moon.
The spell of darkness will leave
in a whoosh, and magic thoughts
win out. I envision a heart-shaped moon.