A November Sestina
Sestina: a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.
I wrote this poem for Kathy Wagner's Freshman Creative Writing Workshop at Washington College in November 1998, but I would like to try to write another sestina, sometime. Maybe this November?
The doors opened, pouring forth people in silence.
Shuffling along, hearts heavy with the message
of nails, thorns, and blood turned to water.
A force which draws them out to the deserted, darkened
beach of ghostly footprints and the seagull’s
sanctuary of wind, sea water, and sand
blowing around, making my thoughts an hour-glass of spinning sand
gritty with seven years of returning to this place, in silence.
Now before me the sea swells, sprinkled with seagulls,
resting in the comfort of the ocean’s motion and message
that the Creator will clasp them in the darkened
night so chilled by the black wind and invisible water.
And now I know that God is the color of this water,
water rushing and gushing love upon the sand’s
moon-like terrain, its pockets of darkened
footprints left there over the years, in silence.
Ghosts of those whose souls felt the message
and now shine with the whiteness of a hundred seagulls.
A reflection of the starry host above, the seagulls
bob peacefully in the chilly waters
lapping up to my toes, and with a shhh! listen! for a message
of whispered grace upon the damp sand.
The only noise amidst the November silence
I have longed for, alone in such a darkness
wrenching my throat because so darkened
has my heart become, not the pure white of the seagulls
asking me where I have been so long, ignoring the silent
power of the crashing, infinite, boundless water
reaching to mold and shape the trodden sand,
leaving the mark made by God’s finger, the message
we should all search for. The message
I found in the bottle of the night, darkened
with a tint of question colored sand,
yet sparkling with the bright hope, the seagulls
a promise surging from within the onyx waters
whose waves break and pull at the shore of my mind. Silence
speaks messages that He who formed the stars loves seagulls
and even those hearts so darkened by other forces, denying the water
that washes the clinging sand from my face and shouts love through the silence.