I recently wrote three different Sestinas after a conversation with ‘Vishal Dominic’ aka Nitin, a very talent writer. I wrote two traditionally and for the other, I broken the rules a bit. I will be honest and say that I struggle a lot with iambic pentameter, so I have been kind to myself in that area and focused on syllable count instead. I found writing a sestina a cross between a Shakespearian Sonnet and a Traditional Ode (after the form of John Keats). They can be difficult to read, so please enjoy the form for it’s own sake and well done if you manage to get to the bottom; I’ll explain the form structure in detail there. Mine’s not perfect, but I gave it a go. Thank you Vishal for the creative push.
You tell me to come and listen,
Your eyes reveal you need all your courage
As there is an affair you need to share;
Spilling out sick details of your mistake
My whole body fills up with intense pain
And everything in my heart is broken
With the vows you have broken
I no longer have the strength to listen,
How could you cause me this much pain?
When you say her name, I lose my courage.
Is this real? Did I make a mistake?
In this sad mess, you hold the liars share
You say you don’t want to share
Despite the covenants you have broken,
You thought with your dick, it was a mistake
But you’ll paint our future if I’ll listen–
Asking for my forgiveness with courage,
You want us to quickly push past this pain
Sorting through the lies and pain
Is your future something I want to share?
We could survive this with work and courage
But perhaps my marriage is too broken.
I lean into my hurt heart and listen,
Can I forgive this man for his mistake?
Rushed choices are a mistake,
I need to recovery from the pain;
Take time to really talk and listen.
When it comes to heartbreak, I’ve had my share
Nothing is permanent, even broken
Hearts can rise again if they find courage
My bags are packed with courage
Knowing that leaving is not a mistake.
We’ll see if this thing that’s badly broken
Can recover from all of the raw pain,
Until then, our lives we’ll no longer share
If he proves his love true, then I’ll listen
With all my courage I’ll move on from pain,
Love is no mistake, souls are hard to share,
But if things are broken… soulmates listen.
A sestina is a French strict poetry form invented at the end of the 12th century. This form uses blank verse (no rhyme) and is written in iambic pentameter, with the first line of each stanza written in seven syllables. A sestina contains six stanzas with six lines in each and an ending three-lined envoi. The end words of the first stanza lines are repeated in a specified order in every other stanza. But wait, there’s more… in the envoi, all six repeated words are used, two in each line with one in the middle and one at the end.
The repeated words in this sestina: listen, courage, share, mistake, pain and broken
Sestina pattern of word repetition:
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
Envoi: (2 5) (4 3) (6 1) this is the order I have used for the envoi, I know there are others