11 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 11 ~ A Sestina

A big chunk of my Sunday surrendered itself to the following sestina. I wanted to attempt at least one during NaPoWriMo. Prime number 11 is a good day to post it. The first stanza was inspired by a television commercial with an ape walking through chest high water. It’s a commercial for an upcoming documentary, Born to be Wild. I have not seen the show. That image drove this sestina, and I devoted a great deal of time to incessant revision. :-) A sestina contains 6 six-line stanzas and a three-line envoi. The last word of each line in the first stanza is repeated in a specific order in subsequent stanzas. The last three lines, the envoi, contain those same 6 words in a specific order as well.

an under-towed sestina

Chest high in unrestrained current
an ape lumbers up televised rivers
advertising a world that slowly disappears
as humanity continually eliminates diversity
perpetuating only what we need to survive
like nothing else matters, but human agenda.

Detrimental to earth’s health, human agenda
hypes up missiles to counter Gaddafi’s media current.
It’s a miracle America continues to survive
as it flushes billions into war’s bloody rivers.
Applauding its melting pot diversity
individual dissension all but disappears.

But, bumblebees and buttercups disappear
from prairies and rivers and hives, honeying an agenda
of vanishing species— demolishing diversity.
We bring home baby bumblebees on currents
of memory and nursery rhyme rivers
where polar bears and honey bees always survive.

If obliteration continues, people might not survive.
Unintentional annihilation might make us disappear.
Building lives with commerce round rivers,
promoting a virtual pocketbook agenda,
distracting the masses from life’s dying current,
aggrandizing self, assholes like us eradicate diversity.

Bumper stickers read: celebrate diversity!
Darwin claims that the strong fish survive
while small scale genocides defeat empathy’s current.
Reddening capitalistic lenses, compassion disappears
and selfish serpents endorse their own agenda.
Progressing through canyons, they stifle life’s rivers.

The last of the humans will gather at rivers.
In themselves, they will recognize diversity.
Stories will rise as each voice creates agenda
yarning out what we need to survive
before every remaining creature disappears
into time capsule’s unopened current.

In the river, there swirls an island where honeybees survive.
An ape flounders in diversity of flow— towed under, it disappears.
A common agenda volts after the ape merging with humankind's current.


Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.


Anonymous said...

I like how you made something interesting from something so mundane (an advert), and did it as a sestina.

I'm in awe of sestina-writers; have you read any of Vivinfrance's?

lucychili said...

wonderful and real

Stan Ski said...

I can imagine them telivising live earth's final decline...

Marianne said...

Bravo, Brenda! This poem is monumental! And splendid! I applaud you for writing a sestina. The form is daunting and you have met the challenge beautifully! I can see how you devoted a Sunday to it.

Marianne said...

I met your wordle challenge from yesterday. Not nearly as difficult as your sestina. Posted here:

flaubert said...

Brenda, I love sestinas, you've done a fine job and have made the subject quite interesting.


Elizabeth said...

I'm impressed. Really impressed. Not only by what you have said and acomplished, but also by the fortitude it took to get it all down and make such wonderful echoing sense. Sestinas are so far beyond me, but am glad to see what others do. Thanks for this one, and for the wordle words that made all kinds of sense out of what I was trying to say,


vivinfrance said...

A simply splendid sestina. I bow and scrape before your mastery. The subject was definitely worthy of the complex treatment, and you did it proud.

Linda said...

Bravo. It all works and you don't resort to gimmicks. I enjoy sestinas. Wouldn't it be interesting to have a weekly sestina challenge--or perhaps twice a month or monthly?

Andy Sewina said...

Congratulations! I know how difficult these are to do and to get them right!

'on currents of memories and nursery rhyme rivers' Wonderful words!

Zouxzoux said...

Congratulations on working in such a difficult genre and making a huge statement with the content. It's such a joy to read social/environmental commentary in poetry form. Bravo!!

Gloria said...

Brenda, I think this is sheer genius! I've only written one sestina, such a challenging form, but yours flows like the river and the current carried me through to your message. Amazing!

twitches said...

I could never write a sestina even if my life depended on it! nicely done.

Mr. Walker said...

I had to read it twice, and I noticed new things the second time. I have to read it again later. It's awesome. I can't pick a favorite line or stanza; you make the sestina form work really well here, the repetition of words but the evolution of thoughts and images is wonderful. Dark, but wonderful.