Thursday, 31 January 2008

For a Rainy Day....Try your hand at a Sestina....

Fed up with Sudoku ? Bored rigid with Daytime TV ? Lost your Rubik's Cube ?
Read all the Catherine Cooksons, Maeve Binchys and John Grishams on the bookcase ?
Try composing this form of prose-poem : You work around six words folded in upon themselves every stanza ; and then finish it off with with three lines conatining the six words.

A Sestina Generator can be found at
to ensure you get the correct order.

A sestina or sextina is a highly structured poem consisting of six six-line stanzas followed by a tercet (called its 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; if we number the first stanza's lines 123456, then the words ending the second stanza's lines appear in the order 615243, then 364125, then 532614, then 451362, and finally 246531. This organization is referred to as retrogradatio cruciata ("retrograde cross"). These six words then appear in the tercet as well, with the tercet's first line usually containing 1 and 2, its second 3 and 4, and its third 5 and 6 (but other versions exist, described below). English sestinas are usually written in iambic pentameter or another decasyllabic meter.

The sestina was invented in the late 12th century by the Provençal troubadour Arnaut Daniel.

Stanza 1: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Stanza 2: 6 1 5 2 4 3

Stanza 3: 3 6 4 1 2 5

Stanza 4: 5 3 2 6 1 4

Stanza 5: 4 5 1 3 6 2

Stanza 6: 2 4 6 5 3 1

Tercet: Variable.

Look At This example by Raw Emotion [Kitty Hunter]

Entranced by the rhapsody that I did greet
within your eyes, I did entreat to piece together the mirror
that reflected my soul so well, only to believe
such a venture would leave me still
unsatisfied, until I could fulfil the promise
to meet your gaze and therefore paint our destiny.

Yet so affronted were you by this destiny
I offered that you did ensure that I could not believe
in your depths – where I was parched still
you revealed shallow waters. Enraged I shred the mirror
of my dreams to try to evade myself and greet
the darkness, but I was weakened by my unsung promise.

Those who remain unrectified by a vow still
attempt to beautify all else that they promise;
not as foolish as I are those who greet
such a spellbinding symphony with all destiny –
I, too naïve, did rely on the fortunes of my mirror
and not in the self in which I believe.

Somehow I am saddened that my mirror
did not reflect the aria and did not proceed still
to portray my true self, indeed, I longed to promise
my heart and soul to you, but perhaps if I believe,
I will not be broken by these games of destiny
And will instead be able to myself greet.

Orchestras that are silenced by a swallowed promise
lose all rhythm in the face of destiny,
breaking the needless and tainted mirror
that we would otherwise use to greet
ourselves. But even in light of such things I believe
that I truly belong by your side still.

And yes, it is painful for the heart to believe
in hollow voices that echo and do not greet.
The one who survives such a marred destiny
will be finally fulfilled by the true promise –
and I, who will keep faith in you still
will await for you to become my true mirror.

Though I feel a tremor in this air between us,
I am undaunted of such a hapless future
because the stars have shone since I met you.

Whoops ; sorry this is a bad example : Because the envoy is wrong ; the six words should be within the last three lines in whatever desired order...
e.g. No , hang on a second....

Here's a challenge : You write an apposite envoy !!
three lines , iambic pentameter, containing the words :
believe, greet,still, promise, destiny, mirror...

New Formalist poetry is becoming mega-trendy !!!!,,1870719,00.html

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