Saturday, August 26, 2006

8 | "Being's words"         [sestina]

What is the world you bring into view?
where is the dawn and how is the dew?
stones and flowers   worms and birds
time and matter   being's words
everything's old   but everything's new
everything's false   or everything's true

At the beginning   everything's true
slowly all things   you bring into view
nothing is known   so everything's new
how to explain   the dawn and the dew?
thought is enigma   absent are words
yet one may hearken   the discourse of birds

The poet is student of boughs with their birds
these are the sources of meanings most true
based on their model   he places his words
bringing the sense of the bough into view
flowers may glisten   because of the dew
poets must listen   and study the new

Even the old   is nothing but new!
all is an egg   with promise of birds
pearls know the lingo   of flowers and dew
gold is the standard   of meanings most true
boughs are the base of the birds in the view
thanks to the birds   the poet finds words

Water that flows is the model for words
spewed by the clouds   it's naturally new
lately arriving   it floods into view
taking their bath   is a bevy of birds!
every construction of fiction is true
all that the blossoms were lacking was dew

Brief is the hour   when flowers drip dew
short is the while   for fashioning words
swiftly the artisan   seeks for the true
fleetly the morning   shines novel and new
stoutly the bough   holds the visit of birds
deftly the camera's   recording the view

Who will describe   what is true in the view?
can somebody translate   the words of the birds?
all dappled with dew   when the morning is new


As the reader might have noted, the first 7 sestinas in this cycle all follow a rhyme-scheme, in the 1st stanza, of ABABAB. Then of course, due to the way the form's design shuffles the order of word-end-lines in subsequent stanzas, various corresponding shufflings are seen in the rhyme pattern exhibited by those (correspondingly various) subsequent stanzas. But naturally, all the patterns on display (such as BAABBA in stanza 2, ABBABA in stanza 3, AABBAB in stanza 4, etc.) are directly based on that given starting pattern of stanza 1 (ABABAB).

In this sestina #8 -- partly to explore other possibilities of variation -- I have resorted to a new rhyme-scheme in the 1st stanza, viz.: AABBAA. Then, of course, the standard shuffling in the sestina's subsequent stanzas perforce results in various different patterns vis-a-vis the end-rhymes cast up, one by one, in the sestina's series of stanzas (viz., AAAABB in stanza 2, BABAAA in stanza 3, ABAAAB in stanza 4, etc.) So in short, altering the end-rhyme pattern in stanza 1 of a sestina will certainly (and, to my mind, interestingly) alter the whole sequence of patterns cast up by the machine (or if you wish, algorithm) of the poem's form as the composition glides forward through its established formal gauntlet.


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