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Poetic License: Singing Sestina

By Staff | Nov 26, 2014

I’ll make my first sestina sing

with rhymes and rhythms meant to ring

in lyric poems, use anything

the muse might have for me to bring

more music into my first fling

with leaden forms to make them swing.

Like Tommy Dorsey, King of Swing,

who taught Sinatra how to sing

and breathe, I’ll hold my breath and fling

my hat in the sestina ring

and hope that beat and style will bring

a poem that goes like anything.

Fixed forms almost gone – anything

can be a sonnet. Take one swing

at structure and you’re out. But bring

a sestina to term, they’ll sing,

shout your praises, give you the ring,

every honor your way they’ll fling!

Some find it utterly baffling:

wacko graphics, one word, any nothing

on the page makes the buzzer ring,

Moore’s glazing a katydid’s wing,

and TS Shakespeare Musing

on his Father WrecKing the Sebring.

What madness to myself I bring

immersed in first sestina fling?

Else why would I ever think of using

Moore’s “mind as an enchanted thing”

Or Hopkins’s: “off, off forth on swing”

Or Martin King’s “Let Freedom Ring?”.

Sixth stanza. Whew! I made it. Wring

out the old, ring in the new, bring

out the champagne! Let freedom swing

in closed forms, however stifling:

the poet wolf in cheap clothing

can teach us how to howl and sing.

Come swing with me, bring everything

we’ll need to keep our fling on wing –

ring a ding ding, sestina sing!