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literature

How to Write a Sestina

Daily Deviation
LadyEponine's avatar
By LadyEponine   |   Watch
158 48 7K (1 Today)
Published: July 17, 2004
In order to write a sestina,
you must start by being unsure,
quickly switching from cold to hot
to cold and to hot again,
the temperature being like a cat
in the Sahara desert at dusk.

Sit on your porch at dusk,
watch the clouds create their sestinas.
As you watch, allow your cat
beside you, her tongue lapping unsurely
from a cup. Look up again,
wonder if milk would be hot

if left out. It is hot;
There is a heat about dusk.
Forget. Forget about the poem again,
Look around. Everywhere, there are sestinas.
Not just in the cool, unsure
ripples your cat

makes, the gentle clink clink your cat’s
teeth make as she tips her hot
tongue against her cup. In unsure
clouds, sestinas. Not just in dusk
either. And mosquitoes make stinging sestinas.
Crumple a sheet of paper. Again.

Now throw it out, again and again.
Eventually, sensing a toy, your cat
will chase it. Wonder what a sestina
really is. The pen will feel hot
in your hand. Take some paper. Dusk
is now ending; Be absolutely sure

this time you will write it. Surely,
you will crumple it up again.
Don’t get a flashlight, it’s still dusk;
the lines are blurry. Your cat
will inspect you, her paws hot
against your arm. Write. This sestina

won’t write itself. No sestina does. Surely
by now you know that, how hot the pen feels, how again
you are unsure. And when dusk is over and your cat is bored it will be done.
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© 2004 - 2019 LadyEponine
"How to Write a Sestina" is, you guessed it, a sestina. The story of this poem is that i was obssessed with Sestinas. So I decided I would write one that I liked. I wrote one every day for six days and on the sixth day, this one appears (signifigance of the number 6 is within the form.) I wrote my sestina and now i am content with having wrote a sestina i like.
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Comments (48)
TheLunaLily's avatar
TheLunaLily|Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations for getting a DD. I haven’t written a Sestina in a long time, but I remember them being difficult. 
Good work on giving us all a lovely poem and a lesson in poetry!
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ScottMan2th's avatar
ScottMan2th|Hobbyist General Artist
brilliant...i've wanted to write one of these for at least a year (if not longer) but could never really grasp how it was done...had the same problem with Pantoum at first but i finally got that one and wrote a few rather good ones and collaborated on several that turned out even better...rest assured i'm sharing this one:D (Big Grin) 
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HidingxIsxAxDesire's avatar
How do you write the way you do. I mean where. Do you write in journal or what?
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RoseScarlet's avatar
:faint:
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samshadeslayer's avatar
This is beautiful. I am so happy I found this :)
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Umbra-Serpens's avatar
It's certainly an entertaining read. Though, from my screen, your final paragraph isn't in its 6-line-form. You may wish to edit the document on that.

This sorta made me want to write another sestina of my own.
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ArtCrusade's avatar
ArtCrusade|Hobbyist General Artist
You should read some recource on how to write a sestina. The final paragraph is called an envoy. It's a tercet that sums the poem up by using the 6 'rhyming words' in but three lines.
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Umbra-Serpens's avatar
Thank you.
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oviedomedina's avatar
Magnificent and brilliant. Reminds me of a poem called "So you have asked me to write a sonnet..." by a poet from here.
The final phrase "And when dusk is over and your cat is bored it will be done." really packs a punch.
Not to say the rest of the poem is of a lesser quality but... agh!
Words fail me.
And here I was, trying to butter you up with a well thought,flamboyant, and grandiose compliment on this poem,
but all I can say is: keep on writing more sestinas.
Hell, anything you want.
Thank you.
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Paint-n-Poem-Freak's avatar
Hahahahahahahaha thats awesome! I love it!
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CodexWriter's avatar
I love how you use 'unsure(ly)' in the first three stanzas and then 'sure(ly)' in the last three and the envoi. The way it subtly influences the tone is brilliant.
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AnnikaAstra's avatar
AnnikaAstra|Hobbyist Photographer
Clever and amusing
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vine's avatar
Delicious, like german chocolate cake.
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PureMind's avatar
This is pretty awesome. Its good to see people actually writing poetry in form for a change.

If you have time, check out a Sestina i wrote as well, except mine doesn't have a Tercet like yours.
[link]

I only have one small criticism for your piece: The meter or line system seems a bit off target. I have something of a similar problem :(
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kelsea's avatar
kelsea|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesomee,
It makes me want to actually study poetry :/
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b1gfan's avatar
b1gfan|Student Writer
As it happens - it is a Sestina I also quite like - and so :+fav: time!
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RookinherRookery's avatar
Sestinas. Oh, my heart!
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LostCarcosa's avatar
I'd never heard of this poem form before, but I love the rhythm. What a clever example. Well done!
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TakiYume's avatar
TakiYume|Professional Writer
awesome! i've never heard of sestina's until just last month in english. i submitted it if you want to view it...it's called Rose.
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Vinesdarkly's avatar
Vinesdarkly|Student Digital Artist
this is great! i like the hot and cold theme, as well as the "blurry lines" and "surely, you will crumple it up again"
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akatsuki150's avatar
akatsuki150|Student Traditional Artist
only one word "Brilliant!!" ^^
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taransa's avatar
taransa|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
That is beautiful work. I am not very well versed in poetry, but I like this piece a lot. Very many congratulations on the DD, it is well deserved!
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theEinME's avatar
theEinME|Student Photographer
I enjoyed this so much, you did a great work there =D
Reply  ·  
y0urstalker's avatar
well let's just say you've succeeded at least in making a sestina I like.
Reply  ·  
anonymous's avatar
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