I didn’t think I was even going to attempt a sestina, the dverse prompt, but after reading Kerfe’s beautiful poem, I decided to have a go. It’s an early Medieval form, intended to be sung, so I reckon it ought to have a rhythm. I’ve stuck to the original iambic pentametre and chosen end words that rhyme to give it a bit more cohesion as I can see it’s a form that can easily end up saying nothing at all. I think I still agree that the poet gets more out of this than the reader, but I rarely turn down a challenge.
Ripples spread from pool to pool, unfurl
Like roses blooming when their petals curl
About a raindrop, while the cloudy sky
Drips into pools and always pools reply
With ripples, glittering in the fitful light
Of day, and silver moonlight in the night.
Listen hard and you will hear the night,
Its music play, its dark leaf flags unfurl,
Beneath the dapples cast by soft moonlight,
Where sleeping things in secret burrows curl.
Listen to the owls call, the reply
That ripples in the stream of starry sky.
Before the dawn, the overarching sky
Is wing-flecked, starlit still. The night
Is full of owls; listen how they reply,
When wind blows through the trees, their leaves unfurl,
And whispers day is coming, time to curl
About your young and sleep, to flee the light.
Songs ripple from bird throats to greet the light,
Oceans of sound that fill the morning sky,
Waves of music roll, like breakers curl
And sweep into the shadows left by night.
While one by one the rose petals unfurl,
I stand and listen, learning to reply.
Water falling, feathered flutes reply,
Just listen to the wind, follow the light,
Wisdom of deer and owl will then unfurl,
Written in the cloudless morning sky,
Those stories told by foxes to the night,
The songs sung as the first tide’s wavelets curl.
Among the roses, birds flit, grapevines curl,
A thousand voices ask and I reply,
In this place where time is hung, the night,
The moon and stars, the darkness and the light,
All that ripples, runs, sings to the sky,
I will protect, my mother-strength unfurl.
Though this reply may fade, mist in the sky,
In dazzle-light, lie hidden by the night,
In a petal’s curl you’ll see its truths unfurl.