Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Very Own Sestina

Well, it took longer to create than a haiku would have taken, and it covers more ground, with many more words. 

A fortnight of my life went into the writing of this complex poetic form. The sestina certainly isn't for cowards! It's a good way to play with words though, and I enjoyed it all immensely. I'm using poetry to keep my brain ticking over and making connections, and so warding off dementia. I hope it's working, and continues to work!

This poem has been through a short critiquing period, and I now feel ready to share it with the larger world.  January has been an amazing month of poetry for me, with at least one poem written every single day of the month.

I've met some lovely poets and great people, and I've taken my critiquing skills, and poetry writing skills to a higher level. And the best thing is, I did it! I met the challenge of writing a new poem every single day!

So here is the sestina I wrote and posted for Month of Poetry 2012 :

A Way To Get By

Every day I think, I’ll make a list,
but it doesn’t happen again, I forget things.
Everyone forgets, I shouldn’t worry,
as I look for what’s forgotten this time, and search
for what I need, hoping the rest will follow.
I’m struggling with my disease, that’s the truth,

struggling to find a way to live, a truth
that’s truer than any half-forgotten list.
There’s methods to try, ways to slavishly follow
so I can relax and not stress about things.
It would be pleasant not to have to search,
if I could spend more time on fun, not worry,

and with what I’ve got I feel that endless worry
may try to become my new, unwanted, truth.
I’ll deal with it myself, and hope the search
by others for help, ends up on government’s list
of the many needed items, medical things
that can lead to a cure and better times to follow.
There are diets and exercise regimes to follow,
healthy food and working out end worry,
to some extent, when you’re busy doing things
and trying your best to locate an inner truth.
Worries about living can go lower down your list
of things to do to live your life. The search

for bad things can move on and become the search
for better ones. There’s many paths to follow,
and when the one you’re on turns bad, list
the benefits, if any, and the things that worry
you, look with care and thought and find the truth
that comes when you bring mindfulness to things.

If you can take a broader view of things,
you might be able to get over the painful search,
the daily mess of stuff obscuring the truth.
Find a life that works, with rules to follow
that leaves you free but means you needn’t worry
about what’s on or isn’t on your list.
Work on all the things that matter, follow
the rules that ease the search and stop the worry,
but understand that Truth’s what counts, not List.

© 2012 Carolyn Cordon


Anonymous said...

It's a good start, albeit a trifle to bare bones, too stilted to flow with any certainty. I say this as a certain amount of fluidity is essential for the conversational style this poem seems to be aiming at, since it eases the argument along and through the repetitions.

I guess, also, working in stronger uses of enjambment can make the repetition less obvious, as well, and the running of the sentences over the stanzaic breaks is a good, praiseworthy feature of your poetic here, and they help the speed of reading.

You might like to try working with the rhythm a bit as well, so that theere is just that hint of musicality in the lines, to help heighten the language and make it less prosy, even if you're attempting a proselike language. Having subtle modulations of register and voice can enliven a poem; I don't mean "as obvious as John Tranter's shifts of register" but more subtle, more fluid, if you will.

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thank you for your thoughts on this poem Phillip. You've certainly given me something to work on, to turn this poem into something better than only slightly better than OK.