01 May 2011

The Train Whistle: A Sestina

Whispers of revolution fall from hillsides
as Ezekiel quiets his riotous visions
straining to hear the aching message
the night train scribbles.
Praying for his people’s resilience,
praying for oppression’s end, he screams.

On this night, the train whistle screams
and Ezekiel guides his horse through hillsides.
Trembling himself, he blesses his mount’s resilience.
The stallion first appeared to him in convoluted visions
animated with hieroglyphic scribbles
that carry a fierce and formidable message

of revenge. Spreading the message
from a train whistle’s screams
Ezekiel’s black steed scribbles
him through dark evening hillsides
to disseminate his visions—
revolving, revolting, resilient:

Truth. Truth that builds his people’s resilience
through the strength in his message.
Prophecy emanates from his visions
as the deserving oppressors scream
their blood creates rivers down hillsides
and bodies lie scattered like scribbles.

He copies the form of the scribbles
pressing down charcoal resilience.
For the illiterate folk on the hillsides
a frame heiroglyphs that night’s message.
Ezekiel cannot reconstruct the night’s screams
but they live in the people’s visions.

His own people relish Ezekiel’s visions
they decipher the hieroglyphic scribbles
and thirst for the train whistle’s thrumming scream
They named his stallion Resilience
and celebrate his strong saving message
singing ballads on festival’d hillsides.

In the dark, Ezekiel’s visions ride high on the back of Resilience.
Famed and framed scribbles induce reminders of that night’s message,
and that low whistle screams, beneath every new moon on the hillside.


I've posted this at A Wordling Whirl of Sundays. Head over there to take a look at other responses to the wordle this week.


lucychili said...

nice sestina
pesky form!
nice wordle =)

flaubert said...

Wow, Brenda, that is a wonderful sestina. Nicely constructed from the wordle words.You handle the form quite well. Thanks for using some of my words:)

ps do you feel the same sense of loss, that I do from this napo ending? The month went by much too quickly.

brenda w said...

~lucychili- Thanks for stopping by. The sestina is a pesky form, but it almost always manages to pull a story from me. I return to it for that reason. Your sestina on the wordle still amazes me!

~Pamela- Thanks for your kind words. The month did go by quickly, and yes I miss posting at the Island and all of us reading and writing together. We can continue, that's the good news. :)

annell said...

You have done a wonderful job! I just had a little difficulty with this wordle. But it came out OK.

angie said...

wow, great sestina! love all the sounds you put together (like hieroglyphic scribbles and just the name ezekiel)-- it really pushes the breathlessness of the form through to the end.

(and thanks so much for the wordles. I'm been looking for something to get me writing and reading again; think i found it!)

brenda w said...

~Annell, Glad you liked it. I'm so happy you are joining us.

~Angie- Wow, thank you for your comments. I like the sounds in the piece, too. That's one of the things I look for when searching for wordle words. Happy to wordle some inspiration your way, it's nice to see the group start strong.


Elizabeth said...

I am a former student of scripture and you capture much of the essence of Ezekiel in your sestina. The whirling wheels of a mind not quite fully attached to the world,yet strongly committed to something beyond self. I'm fascinated by the form and the rhythms and echoes it creates. This is super!


Mama Zen said...

Ezekiel and train. That is wild! Love it!

brenda w said...

~Elizabeth, Thank you for sharing some of Ezekiel's story. I chose that name knowing he had visions. Your support and enthusiasm for this sestina feels good. I like the echoes the form creates, too.

~Mama Zen, Thanks for the read and your comments. I'm glad you like it.

Marianne said...

Wonderful sestina using all those delectable wordle words. "The night train scribbles" is magnificent!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I'm so afraid of even attempting a sestina...you made it look easy. Great job, Brenda!

Stan Ski said...

Repetition of the wordle words works well.

Anonymous said...

You tackle a difficult form with aplomb :)

brenda w said...

~Marianne, Thanks for your visit and comments...yes that night train scribbles. :)

~Paula, Sestina's aren't as hard as they appear...they drive a piece out of you. (really!)

~Stan, Thanks!

~Tilly, If I can do anything with aplomb it is a miracle. Thank you.


Mr. Walker said...

Brenda, an excellent poem. Sestinas scare me, but you have fashioned a wonderful story. Those words do work well here. I like how resilience becomes a name. "and bodies lie scattered like scribbles" haunts me - such a great image.

Thanks again for a wordling whirl of Sundays - and for again choosing words from one of my poems. You honor, humble, and challenge me - thank you for that.

Francis Scudellari said...

I really like the sestina form, but it was a bit to rigorous for me to try following so close on the heels of NaPoWriMo :). The narrative has a very classic feel, and that ties in well with the form. You vary the words wonderfully through their repetitions. I particularly like the different uses you put "scribbles" to.

Anonymous said...

Phew! It's a while since I wrote a sestina, and I'd forgotten how captivating they can be. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Wanted to post mine here, too. Brenda, thank you so much for the Wordle! Amy

zedon said...

Trains are not like other vehicles, they cannot stop quickly. Because of this limitation it is necessary for train car horn to have horns that will sound their approach.