A Sestina for OSI and TT (killing two birds with one stone)


My First Sestina

It’s never easy trying to write a sestina,
Allowing for the metre and the form,
And having to incorporate designated words
Such as prompts, like denouement and clock.*
I’d like to have it all tied up so neatly,
Causing oohs and aahs because I’ve made it rhyme.

Unfortunately, this one isn’t going to rhyme;
It’s my first attempt at a sestina.
I’m afraid it will be done any way but neatly,
Although I try to be a stickler, come to form.
It’s just this time I’m under the clock,
And sadly, I’ve been left bereft of words.

I’m normally a woman of words;
Out of my hat you’ve seen me pull some rhyme.
This week I’m stumped by denouement, clock,
And this strange notion that I must write a sestina.
You see, lately, I’m obsessed with poetic form–
Which usually works out all so neatly.

I’m type “A”; I get on well with “neatly”.
Tritely, I would say, “I just love words”
(Fenton and Fry have got me hooked on form).
I have always had this thing for rhyme,
But Dr. Seuss didn’t teach me about the sestina–
You know, not many ‘nyms go with “clock”.

I have to wonder whose choice it was, clock?
Denouement is never going to work in here, neatly,
Since I have this fixation with the sestina.
Auden and Bishop and even Kipling had the words,
But I’ve only seen Swinburne make it rhyme.
Lately, I’m just such a stickler for form.

Occasionally, I’ll write something without form–
To me, it’s like telling time without a clock.
Lear and Nash and the early poets loved rhyme.
T’would be lovely to tie this all in neatly,
But I’m afraid I’m lost for words.
What did you expect? This is a sestina!

Take it or leave it, this is the form of my sestina–
A few lines and words in order, precise as a clock.
Shame it’s never going to rhyme, neatly.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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*Denouement and clock are this week’s prompts for One Single Impression and Theme Thursday (see sidebar for details)


44 thoughts on “A Sestina for OSI and TT (killing two birds with one stone)

  1. this could be a sestina but i would never know…it did make me smile though. if it is time for the denoument, i imagine the clock has stuck its final toll. happy theme thursday poetikat. see you tomorrow.


  2. Bravo Kat– really nicely done. It's actually pretty uncommon for sestinas to rhyme– keeping the word juggle in the air is hard enough. You made it come across very naturally, which is the great trick. Well done.


  3. Oh, my gosh…how I would love to hear you read this!!! You could have an audience rolling. I think it would appeal to a wide variety of people, too.Stanzas three and four are my favorites. You've done a wonderful job, my friend! That form AIN'T easy to do, but you pull it off so beautifully. I love the fact that it doesn't rhyme. It makes it even more surprising, and you do a great job with the rhythm of the voice. Sweet!


  4. Thanks, Lenore. I didn't realize it was Big Ben's anniversary. I saw it in 1977.Thank you, Sandra.Brian – Clever lad, you are.Ajay – Thank you!DK – Go for it! (Let me know when you've done; I'd love to see it.)John – Thank you. I thought I might try a rhyming one, but realized it was beyond me (at least at this point). At least my problem resulted in a heartfelt poem.Julie – Maybe I'll see if I can find a way to post a podcast of it.Thanks for your generous words, as always.Kalianne – Your limerick is fantastic! I laughed when I read it. Thank you.Kat


  5. lol I don't even know what a sestina is I also don't know If I write in a form or not because I never learned to write poetry so I guess i read the time without a clock ha ha I think you usually are very under control and write fantastic poems


  6. Thanks Yoli and Willow!Marja – I'm not always under control – sometimes the poem takes control of me!sallymandy – Thanks very much.gautami – Thank you.Kat


  7. Brava to you!Funnily enough, I used the word “denouement” in my TT post! That is a very strange coincidence, as it's not the most common word.


  8. I'm wooly headed still – what the heck's a sestina? In my fevered state I had to concentrate very hard. Twas really funny tho.I see you've been bragging about your skinny ass over at Leah's. Here's where we differ. I'm 5'4″ too, but 40 lbs heavier


  9. I do not know of sestinas but will check it out. Trying to write to form? Arggghhhh…I'm getting free floating anxiety as we speak, errr, text. But I do understand about wrapping things up Type A neatly. I enjoyed your piece.


  10. Well done! I only just learned about poetic form from another blogger who's obsessed with it (Librarian don't you know) Far too difficult to get my pea brain around but yours worked out just fine . . you did indeed kill two birds with one stone!


  11. This is a wonderful poem!!! Thank you, I wish I could write like that…I must say I had to check “sestina” in a dictionary, but English is not my first language…


  12. Indeed, sestinas are not easy. Wouldn't you know that's my “handle” on many sites. Because nothing is really easy.Good for you for jumping in…


  13. I think I tried a sestina one time and it did not turn out that great if I remember it. I will have to try and find it sometime. I think you did a great job and to put clock TT in it is great. I wish I could write such poetry. I usually just do rhymes, which I like doing that.Thank you for doing this sestina for us to see.God bless.


  14. Hi1 Poetikat,Nice!…very interesting!and I must admit that I have learned the meaning of a new word today… “Sestina.”By the way, this is my first time posting on your blog and Oh! yes, I did do you the honour of…Well, you, know…Tks, for sharing!DeeDee ;-D


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