X – Xtra
So I decided today would be x for xtra (Extra) and thought I’d share with you one of my closed forms – a sestina, On the Green. This is one of my favourite poems that I completed for a poetry assignment when doing the advanced creative writing course with the Open University. I found this form sent me to places that I normally wouldn’t have gone. I hope you enjoy it.
On the Green
Memories flock my vision as the sky turns red
to mark the end of this day. I sit still,
reminiscing the time you lost the key
to my car and stood shaking in a tea-green
dress. I wiped your tears after what appeared an age
had passed and for the first time you kissed me.
My pulse sped as I inhaled your perfume
and watched your face turn raspberry red;
I held back, so not to take advantage
but your soft mouth opened. You stood still,
waiting, my dark haired Elsie Green
in cotton, I was glad you’d lost my key.
Under a cloudless sky you turned the key
to my sun when you smiled and kissed me.
I lowered you onto the checked green
cover, your sparkling wet eyes mirrored
my image as you lay, serene and still,
staring into my eyes with a message
written in code, a foreign language
to me. You consumed me, held the key
to my sanity and caressed me as I stayed still,
possessed, then asked you to marry me.
I traced letters on your back as I mastered
seduction skills amongst the evergreen
trees. Those virgin days on the green,
the days before your first miscarriage
and the days before the venomous cancered
cells took hold of you, I turned to whiskey
but you stopped me, stayed strong for me,
my fortress, refusing to stand still.
If only you were here as I sit still,
rewinding the reel of our time on the green,
here as my pillar, here to strengthen me.
If only I could flip back the page
to the time when you turned my key –
instead I’m left alone with unanswered
questions as you lie still, never to age;
and I sit by the green mound where the key
to my sun is lost; leaving me –bewildered.
If you’d like to have a go at writing a sestina yourself here’s a couple of websites to try out
And as another extra I thought I’d share some poetry text books that I’ve found invaluable.
Recommended Books for Poetry
The Art and Craft of Poetry – Michael J. Bugeja – World of Books
next word, better word – the craft of writing poetry – Stephen Dobyns – Amazon
Best WORDS, Best ORDER : Essays on Poetry – Stephen Dobyns – Amazon
POETRY IN THEORY: AN ANTHOLOGY 1900-2000 – Jon Cook – Amazon
Craft of Writing Poetry – Alison Chisholm – Amazon
A year of poetry-writing prompts from the 52 Project – Jo Bell – Blackwells
The Poetry Dictionary – John Drury – Amazon
A lot of the above books may be purchased secondhand to avoid high outlay.
Well done on this fab sestina. Tricky to do. I gave up on my one attempt. This flows naturally.Thanks for the references too.
Thank you, Maureen. I’ve yet to try a second one.