The Uprising–a Sestina [poetry friday]

Happy Poetry Friday!

This month, we Poetry Princesses tackled sestinas. Huh.

Here’s what I wrote in the Google Doc where we shared our drafts. As you can see, I did not feel all lightness and happiness about this month’s project!

I hate long poems. I generally don’t like narrative poems. My sestina is destined to be both. And crappy. :>( Oh–also, I decided to do mine unmetered. Since I find sestinas way too long for my personal taste, I wanted to keep my lines as short as possible. And, since y?all were unhappy with ?cart,? I wanted to use it. And then I stupidly decided to be a smart alec and use my ?horse,? too. So, what resulted? An obvious poem about a horse trying to escape its cart. Ah, well. There are a few lines and images I do like, so I’ll try to focus on that! [Note: We each contributed two possible end words, and then we each chose the six we wanted to use in our individual poems.]

And I can’t even remember this month’s theme. Seriously. Shoot. That’s how foggy my brain is right now. I’m kind of sick, preparing for a million things in March/April, and am basically just overwhelmed–all with positive stuff, though, so that’s a good thing!

I did make a few changes based on great feedback from the group, though I’m still not very happy with it. But part of our bravery is going to be sharing poems we’re not super proud of. I share early drafts and quickie poetry exercises here all the time, and that doesn’t intimidate me much. But sharing a poem I tried pretty hard on, that I’m still not happy with–THAT’S pretty scary.

Without further excuses, here’s my sestina:

The Uprising

Pale rays.
Daybreak.
Sturdy horse
gazes up
at dawn cart-
wheeling forward, a weary wave

riding his broad back, a wave,
a wish, to raze
the barn, escape the cart–
break
free of duty’s yoke. Where is the up
side to being horse?

Oh, to be a seahorse
freewheeling in seaweed waves.
Rooster flaps flightless wings up
up up, but he will never raise
sky. Bristle-backed bulk is his brake.
“Learn to love cart.”

Waxy yellow beak: “Embrace cart.”
Icepick claws: “Makes you horse.”
Dusty pecked lies. “Can’t break
free. Must not waive
duties. Raise
commitment. Buck up!”

Dreamy cow flutters fringed eyes. “Make up
your days as you go. Take joys a la carte.”
She grazes, nosing clover as sun’s rays
warm her velvet voice. “Horse-
play is good play.” Shares butterfly thoughts. “Waves
shape rock, though rock doesn’t break.”

“Philosophy,” snorts Horse. “Give me a break!”
Broken-hearted tractor sizes up
the fence, crashes through, stale flanks a wave
of muscled motion, the splintered cart
a hot memory in sod. Sweaty, trembling horse
dances in sun-salty rays.

Grey wave of heartbreak
recedes. Hay and joy in raised snout. New planet up-
rising: “The cart can not define this horse.”

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

 

Here I am reading this sestina:

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And here are links to the Poetry Seven’s sestinas (Sara will be back next month!). I only got to see a few of them in advance, so I will be surprised as I go visit them today! (I’m adding a favorite phrase/line from each in parentheses).)

Liz Garton Scanlon (“my windbreak / against the possibility of lion eating lamb”)

Tanita S. Davis (“Plunge headlong towards dark currents, like a tern”)

Kelly Fineman (“Put through my paces like a horse / on show, made to reject my inner lion,”)

Andromeda Jazmon (“Drifting downstream, you never think of up. /How it’s a long fight back.”)

Tricia Stohr-Hunt (“I’ll toss this poem to the wind / hoping it will return”)
Our form to work on in April will be the raccontino! Racco-what-oh? You can learn more from Tricia here. Here’s our tentative 2015 schedule, in fact:

Villanelle = Jan
Triolet = Feb
Sestina = March
Raccontino = April
Pantoum = May
Ode = June
In the Style Of = July
Haiku = August
Found = September
Etheree = October
Epistle = November
CROWN SONNET = December

And don’t forget to visit Robyn Campbell for the Poetry Roundup today. Enjoy!

P.S. If you’re interested in our previous collaborations:

Feb 2015: Villanelles on hidden things

Jan 2015: Triolets on beginnings (And I posted an extra one here.)

Pre-2015: Villanelles, a crown sonnet, rondeau redoubles, and pantoums

 

56 Responses

  1. It’s good to try new things and stretch yourself, isn’t it? I think the thing I like the most about this is the horse contemplating life as a SEA horse — that concept could be an entire poem unto itself!

    1. It is, Matt. And it’s funny, I didn’t remember disliking sestinas quite so much. But once I got into it, I was thinking, “Noooooooo.” I’m glad several people have commented liking the seahorse. I thought that might be too much of a stretch, but I’m glad I kept it in.

  2. It’s good to try new things and stretch yourself, isn’t it? I think the thing I like the most about this is the horse contemplating life as a SEA horse — that concept could be an entire poem unto itself!

    1. It is, Matt. And it’s funny, I didn’t remember disliking sestinas quite so much. But once I got into it, I was thinking, “Noooooooo.” I’m glad several people have commented liking the seahorse. I thought that might be too much of a stretch, but I’m glad I kept it in.

  3. No theme this month, only shared words, so you’re not foggy at all!

    I love the banter and the barnyard rebellion. I was cheering for the horse by the 5th stanza.

    I know we gave you a hard time about the word cart, but you embraced the challenge and won!

    1. Oh, good. I’m not going crazy. Well. I am, but at least it’s not to blame for the no theme… All I can say is, I learned my lesson about horse and cart. Y’all were totally correct.

  4. No theme this month, only shared words, so you’re not foggy at all!

    I love the banter and the barnyard rebellion. I was cheering for the horse by the 5th stanza.

    I know we gave you a hard time about the word cart, but you embraced the challenge and won!

    1. Oh, good. I’m not going crazy. Well. I am, but at least it’s not to blame for the no theme… All I can say is, I learned my lesson about horse and cart. Y’all were totally correct.

  5. Much for this avid reader to break away with here, Laurie. Your sestina, the links to the year’s Poetry Princess topics & the months completed, & your office/presenter whirl.
    It feels like a peek inside a graduate seminar, the openness & doubt you share but I find the sestina images vivid.
    I see entire sheaths of stanzas that wow me.
    I especially find these lines strong:
    “Wave shape rock, thought rock doesn’t break” & what the dreamy cow says about “joy a la carte.”
    brava! the effort. brava! the sharing. strength to your energy & voice (both actual and writerly)

    1. Thanks, Jan–I’m glad you found parts that spoke to you–thank you for the feedback. It’s always great to see what people do and don’t respond to. :>)

  6. Much for this avid reader to break away with here, Laurie. Your sestina, the links to the year’s Poetry Princess topics & the months completed, & your office/presenter whirl.
    It feels like a peek inside a graduate seminar, the openness & doubt you share but I find the sestina images vivid.
    I see entire sheaths of stanzas that wow me.
    I especially find these lines strong:
    “Wave shape rock, thought rock doesn’t break” & what the dreamy cow says about “joy a la carte.”
    brava! the effort. brava! the sharing. strength to your energy & voice (both actual and writerly)

    1. Thanks, Jan–I’m glad you found parts that spoke to you–thank you for the feedback. It’s always great to see what people do and don’t respond to. :>)

  7. We are always our toughest critics. I’d say your sestina is smashing … but *that* would be too obvious. 😉

    1. Aw, thank you, Keri. I am not usually all that tough on myself, but this time…whew. Glad to be done with this form!

  8. We are always our toughest critics. I’d say your sestina is smashing … but *that* would be too obvious. 😉

    1. Aw, thank you, Keri. I am not usually all that tough on myself, but this time…whew. Glad to be done with this form!

  9. I still just love this whole poem — and to think you started the whole thing JUST to use CART!!!! ? You rocked it.

  10. I still just love this whole poem — and to think you started the whole thing JUST to use CART!!!! ? You rocked it.

  11. a wish, to raze
    the barn, escape the cart?
    break
    free of duty?s yoke. Where is the up
    side to being horse?

    Where indeed? And you already know how much I love the cow’s input, and the horse’s cynicism. I think this is a wonderful piece of work!!

  12. a wish, to raze
    the barn, escape the cart?
    break
    free of duty?s yoke. Where is the up
    side to being horse?

    Where indeed? And you already know how much I love the cow’s input, and the horse’s cynicism. I think this is a wonderful piece of work!!

  13. I just love that cow!
    ?Horse-
    play is good play.? Shares butterfly thoughts. ?Waves
    shape rock, though rock doesn?t break.?

    You did a wonderful job on this!

  14. I just love that cow!
    ?Horse-
    play is good play.? Shares butterfly thoughts. ?Waves
    shape rock, though rock doesn?t break.?

    You did a wonderful job on this!

  15. Loved the journey to this sestina Laura — especially these lines:
    Oh, to be a seahorse
    freewheeling in seaweed waves.
    That visual is staying with me-making me smile.

  16. Loved the journey to this sestina Laura — especially these lines:
    Oh, to be a seahorse
    freewheeling in seaweed waves.
    That visual is staying with me-making me smile.

  17. I like the horse ‘nosing clover’, just what they do! And I like the ending, too. I’ve written sestinas with my students, really! And they are interesting to play with. My early adolescents loved them (lots of words). Fun to be in the group trying new things, Laura! Hope you keep well!

    1. Thanks, Linda. You know, last time I did one (I think maybe the only other time?), I was more on board with a narrative poem. This time, it just wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t avoid it–it was like a giant meteor crashing into earth, and there was no way to get out of its way. I love that you’ve written these with students! Not a fast nor easy form!

  18. I like the horse ‘nosing clover’, just what they do! And I like the ending, too. I’ve written sestinas with my students, really! And they are interesting to play with. My early adolescents loved them (lots of words). Fun to be in the group trying new things, Laura! Hope you keep well!

    1. Thanks, Linda. You know, last time I did one (I think maybe the only other time?), I was more on board with a narrative poem. This time, it just wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t avoid it–it was like a giant meteor crashing into earth, and there was no way to get out of its way. I love that you’ve written these with students! Not a fast nor easy form!

  19. Thank you for being brave and sharing your sestina with us. Your barnyard philosophy made me laugh, and I love the way you wove rocks into this poem. Nice work!

  20. Thank you for being brave and sharing your sestina with us. Your barnyard philosophy made me laugh, and I love the way you wove rocks into this poem. Nice work!

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