When I returned to college to get my language arts teacher certification, I had all my theatre and communications classes done, but had to beef up on English courses. I had the privilege of taking a poetry writing class from Greg Kuzma in the last semester of his thirty years of teaching at the University of Nebraska.
Our first assignment in that class was to write a sestina, a poem with a very specific structure. When I looked it up today to remember the pattern, what I found used repetition of the end words, but I know that we used the pattern to write in a rhyme scheme.
The sestina has six stanzas with the following rhyme scheme:
Stanza 1: A B C D E F
Stanza 2: F A E B D C
Stanza 3: C F D A B E
Stanza 4: E C B F A D
Stanza 5: D E A C F B
Stanza 6: B D F E C A
So, there’s no rhyme within each stanza, but the end words of each line build that pattern over the complete poem.
Today I challenged myself to a sestina. There is almost no editing here, a one-take poem if you will. I also added repetition to the opening of each stanza.
In Times Such As These
In times such as these, I need to write.
A practice that should happen every day,
not just when sitting at home on my own.
The need to create is deep in my core,
ideas whirl through my mind without end,
though often by responsibilities drowned.
In times such as these, the space is found
for ideas to breathe, be brought to light,
find their way to fingertips, ready to send
out into the world to land where they may,
find good soil, germinate, and grow to be more-
causing ripples to spread, no longer alone.
In times such as these, it’d be easy to groan,
complain, and allow stress to gain ground,
pushing hope into the current and losing the oar.
But drowning in rapids of fear, we lose sight
of the truth, of the good, and get lost in the fray
of lies, of misinformations, of what is on trend.
In times such as these, we must look to mend
the torn places of soul, of heart, down to the bone
and allow love, joy, and hope to have final say
in how we move forward and come around
a corner toward new possibilities and bright
discoveries in new lines of rich ore.
In times such as these, perhaps we also clean the floor,
organize and purge those things that tend
to build up in piles, in corners, and might
limit the creativity to which we are prone.
Build a space to let ears hear and give eyes sight,
to listen, to breathe, to create, and to pray.
In times such as these, we have a chance to lay
down our cares, and move forward in love, for
we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of sound
mind and power, and when we come ’round the bend
we can speak more clearly, having found a new tone
to share our stories and let dreams take flight.
This is a time of unknowns. We’re all living under a cloud of questions, but we do not need to live in fear.
Take care of ourselves.
But no need to cower.
I am striving to make this time at home a time of growth and refreshment.
A time of renewal.
Who knows what we will discover.
I wish you all health.