Poetic License: ‘Singing Sestina’
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!