Saturday, August 26, 2006

9 | "Seeking for poetry"       [sestina]

Slowly the day drifts
seeking for poetry
somebody shoplifts
somebody dreams
everything seems
premised on comedy

Lost in the comedy
everything slow-drifts
nobody seems
drunken on poetry
what if in dreams
somebody shoplifts?

Tawdry are shoplifts
tragic their comedy
steep are the dreams
deep are the drifts
snow is like poetry
often it seems

Lately it seems
nobody shoplifts
can there be poetry
lacking all comedy?
pilgrimage slow-drifts
following dreams

Fleeting the dreams
strange how it seems
significance so drifts
maybe it shoplifts?
filching the comedy
cut-pursing poetry

Pickpocket poetry
thievingly dreams
slumberous comedy
yawningly seems
lost in its shoplifts
lorn as the cloud drifts

Poetry seems
a dreaming that shoplifts
comedy cloud-drifts


The reader may note that with this sestina, a third end-rhyme syllable is (for the first time in this cycle) introduced to the form. The sestina's first stanza displays the end-rhyme pattern ABACCB. Short lines (with a mere two stressed syllables per line) streamline the composition into a run of quick clusterings.

The phrase "seeking for poetry" conjures, for me, this classical Chinese poem (in my own translation) by an early 20th century Japanese poet, Imazeki Tempo:

  Sylvan shadows   on the water's gleam   anon the day is calm
  of a single substance   are the dogs & fowl   divided across a pond
  on my bamboo cot   no summer's heat   and the tea-hued screen is still
  and yet   in seeking poetry   I forget the day wears on


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