My children are all talented poets, among other things. Some excel at recitation, others at slam, but each one has the knack to write beautifully. While I have dabbled, I have never claimed to be a poet of any note, though I did get the chance to listen to former poet laureate Billy Collins read his work recently. If you get the chance, trust me - you should take it.
One of my daughters especially loves writing sestinas. (Don't worry, I had never heard of them either, before she started writing them.) These poems consist of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. Each stanza repeats the end words of the lines of the first stanza, but in a different order. The envoy employs the six words again - three in the middle of each line, and three at the end. (It helps to chart it out.) This same daughter challenged me to write a sestina, so yesterday I spent most of my writing time on it. Working on something new, something so structured yet random, really was a challenge, but a good one.
"It's not the familiar that makes us grow so much as the difficult."
Anyhow, here it is. They won't clamor to make me the next poet laureate after this - I'll stick to novels and blog posts! - but I had fun, and feel accomplished. And, just maybe, one of my talented children will enjoy that honor someday...
(Note* I took some liberty with the words "peace/piece"; don't know if that is allowed, but I've always been a rebel!)
The morning shimmers, crisp and fragrant, perfect weather for reflection, and a walk
As Summer leans into the impending birth
Of Autumn, crowning, welcomed by September's light,
A gift not yet fully present
To a long- laboring mother
Who dreams only of peace.
Autumn will sing out in full glory soon, piece by colorful piece,
Leaves to rain over her as she walks
And reconnects with her own Inner Mother,
Sharing tears of celebration over a birth
Longed for, yet too soon present,
Her steps brindled with shadow and light.
It is softer and more forgiving, this light
A golden riot in the midst of peace
Caught between bold seasons of green and white, a moment half-present.
A quieter walk.
A chance for a weary mother
To reengage. A re-birth.
A late-Summer mother
Strolling into Autumn light
Announcing that rebirth
Piece by piece
As she walks
Into a simpler present.
Ladies & gentlemen -or, more accurately, youngest daughters still at home - I now present...
Your New, Improved Mother!
She can talk and walk.
She can still comfort in the darkness, or light,
Mete out justice and keep the peace,
And, though now barren, she can still give birth...
- for dying to self is a kind of birth.
Living to learn only in the Present,
Relinquishing the broken pieces of her that formerly stole everyone's peace.
An older mother,
Filled with dim, self-righteous light,
Stumbled through Summer with a pronounced limp, but then... she took a walk.
Self-doubt won't walk with her into this new birth -
Autumn light to light Winters soon to be present -
Of a mother who has finally found peace.