My Sestina, “The Here” [F]

A sestina is a poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the following stanzas, and also recur in the concluding envoy.


There is a mathematical formula behind the sestina determining which sentence gets which end-word and how those words are rotated. Troubadour, Arnaut Daniel created this poetry style sometime in the 12th-century. Here’s the formula and I’ll have an example below (“The Here”) to paint the full picture:


STANZA I: 1 2 3 4 5 6

STANZA II: 6 1 5 2 4 3

STANZA III: 3 6 4 1 2 5

STANZA IV: 5 3 2 6 1 4

STANZA V: 4 5 1 3 6 2

STANZA VI: 2 4 6 5 3 1

I initially did write something about how I was feeling but I pretty much exhausted my creativity within the first stanza and didn’t feel like writing any more. It was mundane. I gave up, but a day later I revisited what a sestina was. After learning there’s a mathematical process to its form, I felt encouraged and tried again — Sometimes having restrictions helps concentrate the creativity. I also wanted to give myself a challenge so I tried to write my sestina in a present-tense, first person narrative. My six end-words are, Fascination, Inside, Door, In, Eyes and Escaping: (1st Draft)

You are teetering on the demented cliff of morbid fascination
Unrelenting acts of pleasure and discomfort awaits you, come on inside
This is the place you want to be after all you did blow on my door
This is the time of my discontent aren’t you going to come in?
We have nosy neighbours with prying eyes
So please, enter, body heat is escaping

To your left augmented reality to your right dreadful punch, no flash photography and please turn off all cellphones there is no escaping
I can always tell the ones with an unquenchable thirst for the macabre, their fascination
Soul meets soul on lover’s lips but the dark things within us travel between the eyes
Mind the gap, and if you’re fond of your fingers please at all times keep them inside
So what brings you to our backwater necropolis, a desire to fit in?
Step away from the door!

Your scent brings troubled wind that wants you torn apart behind every door
Here, the beneath is a maze or tomb from which there is no escaping
Stay close to me, mind the gap, and welcome in
Have a poison? Its antidote might be of particular fascination
Or perhaps the stimulation you seek is nowhere to be found inside
What if I said outer space could be reached from deep within the dark of your eyes?

Precious eyes
Cannot see behind the door
Yearning to be touched, inside
Only your warmth is escaping
Not your loneliness not your fascination
I am the one who welcomes the wind, you all eventually come in

You are one of us now, mingle, blend in
See the world, you won’t be needing your eyes
You won’t need anything, but to keep of sound mind hold on to your fascination
Here, there are many a door
Before we part all I ask is that you remember me, in case you ever plan on escaping
You will need someone in-the-know on the inside

We all change on the inside
Some change so much all they want is further in
Here, an endless wind blows and as you are you have the most chance of escaping
Indulge your temptations and feast your eyes
I will be here at my door
Welcoming all manner of deceased fascination

  There is no escaping eyes of elation
For The Here is a place of endless fascination

The door chooses who comes inside, and stays in.

It’s still a work in progress. I’m trying to cut down the word-count, but there it is. Sentence by sentence, why not try creating a sestina of your own?

~ by Fionnlagh on March 18, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: