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So, the same site that explained the villanelle to me also described the sestina, which hooked me.

So I wrote one:
We celebrate the passing of an age
unequal split across two tracks of time,
a mother's and a son's, without a reason
to add them now, except to get a laugh
when we say we're a hundred. Well, it's true,
though those ignorant of our birthdays couldn't guess.

Surprising yet predictable, I guess,
is losing youthful vigor as we age.
We lose it to the gentle march of time,
while fearing the potential loss of reason.
We cover up our panic with a laugh
at jokes that aren't funny, merely true.

Simpler, perhaps, to tolerate for true
believers, who "know" what I just guess
or hope for, when listening to new age
music or reading scripture from another time.
But how am I to couple faith to reason?
The very thought of trying makes me laugh.

And my attempts just serve to make you laugh.
Of course, that doesn't mean it isn't true.
The dream of Heaven might be just a guess
at what we find beyond the grave. An age-
old game, but not an idle pass-time:
we keep those stories current for a reason.

But must we always choose 'twixt faith and reason?
Or can we bid them play together, laugh
as they run, hands tight-clasped, through true
and possible and plausible and guess,
from Dark Age-swaddled fogs through Age
of Reason, and through to the End of Time?

Perhaps we could, if we had had the time
to build ourselves a path to faith in reason
that satisfies the cynics who would laugh
as well as those who claim to know the true
nature of God and Man. Oh well, I guess
we should have started in an earlier age.

Believers may yet have reason to laugh,
for what we guess is rarely what is true,
and age-old verities decay with time.

Which, incidentally, should also serve as a reminder to come to my party next Saturday (April 17th)!



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 9th, 2004 02:18 pm (UTC)
This is really very good.
I adore sestinas. :-)
You must read (or borrow from me) John Hollander's Rhyme's Reason sometime.
Apr. 9th, 2004 09:26 pm (UTC)
Can I just say that happening on your website just now, and reading the very profound "To a Kohen" utterly blew me away. That poem, mmm, it's good. It taps into something very genuine, which is of course, just what it's about! And that sense of gifts squandered, yet respected, mmm...really good.

Apr. 10th, 2004 05:40 am (UTC)
Oh wow. :-} Thanks!
Apr. 9th, 2004 03:02 pm (UTC)
That's really fun. :) When it comes to established forms, I've only done sonnets. My poetic output is on my website. [plug plug]

The "Ode to Blank Verse" is a satiracal mock that I'm kinda proud of. The sonnets on my site are all in chronological order of composition.

Apr. 13th, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC)
A party! whee!!

can I take the above as being invited? (I know where you live :D)
are you going to cook?!
I guess that's a stupid question. More importantly, are you going to be sure to restrain your enthusiasm for cooking enough so that you have time and energy for telling all your stories that make me laugh over again?

what time?
can I bring a friend or two?
do you let people give massages at your parties? (I brought an amateur masseur friend to Cee's last massage party and he is raving about it still.)

Apr. 14th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC)
Re: party?!
I have absolutely no idea who you are... but if you know me well enough to know that asking if I'm going to cook is a stupid question, you're certainly welcome to attend. And yeah, bring folks you think are cool.

I assume "massage" is not being used euphemistically. I've never had occassion to establish a formal policy on massages at my parties, and it certainly isn't a massage party per se, but I can't imagine why I'd prevent it.
Apr. 16th, 2004 04:05 pm (UTC)
Re: party?!
well, sadly, I haven't been feeling well the past few days, so I think I'm going to have to miss this one. Thanks for letting me almost-come. :) hope it's swell.

It's kind of a tradition that you have absolutely no idea who I am, even after having a conversation in person -- it's also tradition that your partner remembers every detail of my every intrusion into yall's lives... if you really want to know who I am, ask him about the girl with the celery and the sweater.

Apr. 14th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC)
Re: party?!
Oh... and to answer your other questions -- 7pm, and my current menu seems likely to minimize the amount of last-minute "real cooking" I have to do. I don't necessarily promise time and energy, but I'm usually "on" for parties.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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