(A NOTE ON THE SESTINA from Bradley Richter:)
It may seem random, almost free, but it’s highly structured using the six ending words: love, spoken, awoken, ground, sound and above in six different combination (seven if you count the final three lines). The Sestina is a difficult form to be sure… and to use those six words in different ways and in difference combinations is a challenge.
Sestina for Sunset
What words can there be to describe our love?
Trust, there are none that have not been spoken.
Will new words blossom and be awoken?
The dictionary will drop to the ground,
The words will be risen without a sound,
And form in gray clouds in the sky above.
We’ll crane our necks and gaze at the above,
Tongues outstretched to catch the downpour of love,
Ears cocked to discern the thunderous sound
Of the space between the words not spoken.
Then we’ll fall in a heap on the damp ground
And wait for passion to be awoken.
And when from the dream we have awoken,
The nebulous dimness of clouds above
Casting their shadows on the hallowed ground
Where first we had planted the seeds of love,
What words then, my sweet love, will be spoken?
What sense will be made from the empty sound?
For language is but arbitrary sound
Where sleeping meaning has been awoken,
And though they slither they must be spoken
Not unlike the words you have read above,
Words which try to say (in many ways) “love”.
Which strive in vanity to cover ground.
Which, stubborn, insist on standing their ground.
Which adamantly seek meaning in sound.
Which try to define this syllable “love”.
Which, though sleeping sweet, have been awoken
Imbued with import, below as above,
Meaningless, yes, but still to be spoken.
And when all is thought and all is spoken,
When the storm comes, will we find higher ground?
When those pregnant words are birthed from above,
How will we hear and recognize the sound?
When that flame from embers is awoken
Will it suffice to simply call it love?
“Love”, what a minuscule word is spoken!
Above, what enchantment is awoken!
Yet down here, on the ground, a simple sound.
* * *
(© Bradley Richter)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED