NPM Spotlight 4/1/18 ...longer (a sestina)

Daily spotlighted pieces from members of our forum through the month of April

Moderator: Co-Administrator

Post Reply
Elite Member
Elite Member
Posts: 4069
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 4:32 pm

NPM Spotlight 4/1/18 ...longer (a sestina)

Post by ladylilith » December 18th, 2013, 1:12 pm

‘The Sestina is a hard form but I have faith we can pull it off, we just need a starting point really... I'll dwell on it.’ - Jamie Mason, in conversation.

You signed off, and I was creased along the lines;
I waited in the shape of a crane. Origami paper
skin that was a mathematical fractal of damask
bacteria. I was ready to multiply a poem
with you, I was ready to strip away the first
and the last sheet, ready, so ready, to colour

in the borders with a deep blue colour
(or was it black?) that matched the lines
in your eyes (or did it?) – it was so easy at first
to trace your image, in poesy, on paper,
and build you anew in the body of a poem
like when we wrote of Lorca and damask

and suddenly the world was alive with it, damask
shapes that shone, silky sheen and green in colour,
like moss, like the fertile ground that our poem
should have found, instead of resting on fault lines-
waiting for an earthquake, to shake the paper
avian out of me at last, to finally make the first

move and create a slow sestina, shiver at first…
But you logged out and left me waiting, in damask
(reversible, so maybe you saw a different pattern on the paper)
for the way forward. I am in eternal amber, the colour
of ‘get ready’, only more ‘lost’ within your aging lines-
It’s wrong, and it’s heady. A puckered, unsteady poem,

is who we are. All I have left is the idea of a poem
and some unflighted flickers of the first
time we shook and severed the lines
between being offline, and weaving new damask
that matched me (you) in party-hard colour.

Lone hands, now endangering the paper-

Lone hands, making strange sounds on sharp paper
squares. Different fingers unfold me now, into a living poem
that is beautiful (he says so) although faded from the colour
I think I was in your eyes (serene) for those first
uneasy furrowed attempts at expressing the damask
design I feel like I am, between the lines.

(paper that was bending and flexing itself at first;
Poem made thick by folding it fully from damask.
Colour, harsh prism, unfinished kiss.
    Please linger, dwell on your lines…
Last edited by Alan on April 2nd, 2018, 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added little space so other re-titles would have space too

"The night is dark and full of terrors."

Posts: 2444
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 9:46 am

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by Sasha » December 18th, 2013, 2:02 pm

My God... that kinda write that makes you hold your breath till the ending and even without knowing you've been holding it for that long. I'm speechless, and I'm gonna get back to this, Lily.

<edit> to begin with, I can’t believe this is a sestina by the way you played the form; connecting sestets, the crafty way of using parentheses, and the format of the last line. You made it seem so effortless, like it’s so easy to write a sestina! Then, this is a beautifully heart rendering poetry; it slices the heart with those heavy emotions of longing and fragile plea. And the language takes the breath, it’s loaded. And I love how you take the reader and indulge them in the processes of creating this work throughout, from the very beginning till the end along with every single detail. A very moving read that will ‘linger’ in my heart and mind for a long, long time. I won’t say more, but know this is an accomplished piece of poetry.
Thank you so very much for sharing, because even though I didn’t know you were working on it, but I feel like I needed to read it, just like that. x


Want to be a TPS Moderator?
Click Here!

User avatar
Elite Member
Elite Member
Posts: 2142
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 3:20 pm
Location: the bright side

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by songofmeadow » December 19th, 2013, 7:41 am

I too am building up to a response, this being my third read mx

Later...... Lily this is quite remarkable both in the much feared structure ( by me anyway) and for what is known and how that background is delivered. The waiting crane is such a compelling image and this coupled with the knowledge of how you have developed your interest in the form allows me to read much between the lines. Love love your assured handling of line run on's it allows the poem a lightness to shine something a heavier hand might have struggled with. That same confidence allows for the slight deviation with the ending that causes no problems when having witnessed the poem from start to finish, awed mx
Last edited by songofmeadow on December 21st, 2013, 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Remember, 3 replies for every poem you post!!


Elite Member
Elite Member
Posts: 7443
Joined: April 24th, 2012, 9:08 pm
Location: The Emerald Coast

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by Dew » December 19th, 2013, 8:21 am

Added your special touch by reaching back and thrusting your own bit into the form...showing it that you can and don't mind doing so...I can imagine the decision to insert that lone line in's impact exaggerated by it's presence, like a writer's hesitant pause before dealing the last lines and finishing it off. I realize this is a deeply personal write, but I appreciate you sharing it and taking the time to remind us where we come from and where we're going. Left me in a sober, contemplative mood...peace - dew

Elite Member
Elite Member
Posts: 6769
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 9:21 am

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by everhopeful » December 19th, 2013, 10:12 am

Your ability with this form always amazes me, it is the proverbial beast of a form, yet you make it appear as natural as the most unconstrained of free verse. That is a feat in itself, yet the theme of this one and the inspiration behind it made it more jaw-dropping. I think the narrative of it comes across like a stream of consciousness, in the sense that the constraints are invisible, as if they were your own creation for this poem, and the narrative was a speaker sharing their reaction to the inspiration and just running with it.
The pacing of the first five stanzas was so intense that the single line felt like a necessary breath before we were pulled into the present day with a bump. To me it was like the weight of everything finally caught up with the speaker and then the reader in turn could feel it with them.
I could pick out individual phrases and lines from each stanza, running the risk of lessening my appreciation for the sum of each part, so instead I will simply say that your storytelling ability through a medium of poetry is second to none - you write in layers, in chapters, with a truly poetic voice - and leave me struck with admiration for your skill and love for your heart.

Regular Member
Regular Member
Posts: 872
Joined: July 31st, 2013, 9:12 am

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by Rainman » December 20th, 2013, 1:41 pm

As everhopeful says, the sestina is quite a fearsome beast to take on, but I believe you managed to tame it here. The smart use of enjambement across the stanza breaks allows an easy flow to the read, thus the form is not a burden. I was quite struck by the use of colour in the piece, and its use as a vector for emotions, and also by the consistency of voice which is never easy to maintain in a longish work. I can't presume to comment on the content, but the references to the origami crane and to Lorca were both appealing lures for me.
This has the feel of a piece you needed to write, not necessarily as closure, as the last lines are kind of open-ended, but certainly as acknowledgement of something important.
Fine work by any standard.

User avatar
Elite Member
Elite Member
Posts: 4151
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 10:42 pm
Location: The North Shore

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by tangerinepie » December 21st, 2013, 2:11 pm

I can only say this unfolds into a book of emotions that startle the reader with it's poignancy..It is more than one can fully understand because of the nature of the relationship, but these kinds of unions of the mind and heart are so rare.As others have said, it's magnificence is stunning, the format extremely admirable.I felt blessed to read this amazing poem..Tangie..


Elite Member
Elite Member
Posts: 2438
Joined: April 15th, 2012, 12:04 pm
Location: North Wales coast.

Re: ...longer (a sestina)

Post by flux » January 2nd, 2014, 11:25 am

I came across this while judging the Comment of the month comp', and I am impressed. People sometimes forget that this form should have a clear narrative if it is to breathe, and this has a narrative that flows. The energy in the first two thirds is wonderful, the energy of two minds working as one, but then you are left to stumble along alone. I thought the way you chose to present that sense of struggle toward the end was clever.

Make fellow poets happy and comment on their poems.


Posts: 3819
Joined: April 18th, 2012, 1:09 am

Re: NPM Spotlight 4/1/18 ...longer (a sestina)

Post by godsplat » April 4th, 2018, 2:27 am

Hello ladylilith

Congratulations on the spotlight, a wonderful sestina indeed!!


Post Reply