Form poems, nature, Sestina

Seasonal Sestina

Snowdrops spring from graves between tree roots

Seasonal Sestina

The calendar announces it is spring
Our skies have lost their pallid arctic blue
Though wind still scatters puffs of icy flour
My garden boasts the spear-point of a plant
Can’t come too soon – this kinder, gentler reign
When all the world’s a’grin, even the ground


It’s lost its look of shrivel-parch – the ground
Grows sensuous, black and soft, as snowdrops spring
From graves between tree roots to drink the rain
Recall past years of late snow when wind blew
So hard almost uprooted every plant
In blusterous threat to pluck or maim each flower


Soon, soon the countryside’s abuzz with flowers
Warm sun has coaxed their secrets from the ground
My local garden center’s fat with plants
Apartment balconies announce the spring
With tubs of blooms magenta, yellow, blue
Quaint spouted cans that pour tap water rain


The days are hot, we need a soaking rain
Long sun-drenched hours sap life from every flower
Still hot sun burns a golden globe in blue
Long after dark warmth radiates from the ground
It dreams a shimmering mirage of springs
or even dew to fortify its plants


Fall air is sweet with smell of ripening plants
The burnished leaves make handprints in the rain
Twist stem of a new apple like a spring
Eat harvest soup and bread fragrant and floured
Pull turnips, carrots, spuds buried in ground
A pumpkin glows in sky of denim blue


First snow meringues the trees in softest blue
The roads are slippery coming from the plant
We need new winter tires to grip the ground
Remember sleigh and horse, just take the reins
To church, or work, or shop for eggs and flour
The roads all hard and glistening till the spring


We’ll hibernate till spring, cold hands turn blue
Scraping frost’s crystal flowers, the window plants
Of winter’s reign – wait springtime’s fertile ground

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly

July is the month TS PoetryPress is exploring the sestina.  The sestina is a form poem defined at – Poetry:

The sestina is a challenging form in which, rather than simply rhyming, the actual line-ending words are repeated in successive stanzas in a designated rotating order. A sestina consists of six 6-line stanzas, concluding with a 3-line “envoi” which incorporates all the line-ending words, some hidden inside the lines. The prescribed pattern for using the 6 line-ending words is:
1st stanza 1 2 3 4 5 6
2nd stanza 6 1 5 2 4 3
3rd stanza 3 6 4 1 2 5
4th stanza 5 3 2 6 1 4
5th stanza 4 5 1 3 6 2
6th stanza 2 4 6 5 3 1
envoi 2–5 4–3 6–1

And here’s the challenge to write a Sestina from L. L. Barkat (with more links to explain and teach the form).

I wrote this sestina several years ago during an April poem-a-day challenge.

Linked at One Shot Wednesday – Week 54

7 thoughts on “Seasonal Sestina”

  1. Thank you so much, Connie! I find that part of the challenge is choosing words that will do double-duty, and then working them in so they feel like they belong.


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