My First Sestina: To Sing

by Kathy on May 17, 2012 · 11 comments

in Abby, Blessed, Coping, Family, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Life, Peace, Poetry, Sean, Writing

I am excited to share with you my first attempt at writing a sestina style poem. Though I have played around with poetry a bit in the past (mostly limericks and another one that I am very proud of), I don’t think I have tried to write fixed form since high school and I know that I never wrote a sestina before.

I was inspired, motivated and challenged to do this as a part of Mel’s awesome MFA Sunday School assignment this week. Last week’s assignment was to write for 15 minutes a day and I am proud to share that I have prioritized doing so on a project that is important to me, but I was not spending much time on before Mel’s Budgeting Writing Time workshop.

Writing a sestina was not an easy task for me, especially getting started, even though Mel gave us our six end words to work with. However, once I got the hang of it, the writing flowed more fluidly than I expected. To read more sestinas, find out more about this poetry form and/or learn how to try to write your own, click here.

I confess that I spent a bit more than the 30 minutes or so that Mel encouraged us to, being that this was her version of the Food Network’s show Chopped (only using end words for a sestina poem, instead of ingredients to make a recipe out of), but not a lot more time. I took a few days off from using my 15 minutes to work on my writing project to focus on this sestina and am glad that I did. It was a nice break from my project and an interesting experience.

Now I give you my first sestina. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing what you think.

To Sing 

Life isn’t fair.
That’s a lesson I try to teach my son
and my daughter too.
I want them to work hard and find rest.
When it rains I hope
they will be able to sing.

I feel blessed that I am able to sing.
Though life may not be fair,
somehow there is always hope.
With each new day the sun
rises and when it sets we rest.
Another day, another chance – take two.

We have a choice how to
live and whether to sing.
In peace we will rest
if we try to be fair.
I want my daughter and son
to know how to find hope.

When we have hope
in our life, we get to
find joy with the rising sun.
When we choose to sing
we learn to live when life isn’t fair.
With that knowledge we can rest.

Some days it isn’t easy to rest,
we find it hard to see the hope
in our affairs.
One day at a time is what it takes to
be able to sing,
to find courage to greet the morning sun.

I wish that all daughters and sons
are able to find rest,
to sing
and to hope.
We do have a choice to
seek joy when life isn’t fair.

When the sun comes up after we rest,
let us search for hope when life doesn’t feel fair.
We can do this together if we choose to sing.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mud Hut Mama May 17, 2012 at 8:58 am

It also took me more than the 30 minutes – not an easy task! I really like this line, “another day, another chance – take two” – I love the creative use of the end word and the image it brings to mind.
Mud Hut Mama recently posted..Assignment Three: SestinasMy Profile


2 Kathy May 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thank you MHM! I appreciate your feedback and am glad that line spoke to you. I really enjoyed reading your sestina too. As I shared in my comment on your post, I find this exercise fascinating to see how each of us interpreted and used the same six end words that Mel gave us to write with.
Kathy recently posted..Exhale & Falling UpwardMy Profile


3 Jjiraffe May 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Wow! You did a super job with this! Nice work 🙂
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4 Daryl May 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Well done! And I’m impressed with how quickly you’ve completed a sestina. My first one took for-ev-er. It’s nice to get our of our comfort zones every once in a while. Scary, but nice! 🙂
Daryl recently posted..May Poem (for realsies this time)My Profile


5 marwil May 19, 2012 at 6:01 am

I love it, and this phrase really got me: ‘When we choose to sing
we learn to live when life isn’t fair.’
So true and I try hard to keep it up, it’s not always an easy task. Thanks for sharing.
marwil recently posted..My First SestinaMy Profile


6 Mel May 20, 2012 at 8:06 am

Absolutely true sentiment and such an important life lesson — in a poetic form to boot! Great job 🙂


7 Justine May 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Nicely done! I was too chicken to attempt this … you made it look so easy!
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8 Laura May 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I recall thinking that there was nothing to this until I tried to write one myself, that was when I realized how tricky and time consuming it really was! Nice effort.
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9 Lori Lavender Luz May 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Color me impressed!

I was too intimidated to even try. You created a beautiful sestina.
Lori Lavender Luz recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Whimsical or weird?My Profile


10 Kathy June 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

Thank you Lori! I am sure if and when you try to write one it will be beautiful too.
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