28 April 2009

April 28 - Poem A Day Challenge - Sestina

Today's prompt: "I want you to write a sestina. So start figuring out your 6 end words and get writing. But wait! Today is Tuesday, so you have one other option. You can write a poem about the sestina (your love, hate, frustration with, etc.)." Poetic Asides

"The sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi." Poets.Org

"A sestina is a highly structured poem consisting of six six-line stanzas followed by a tercet (called its envoy or tornada), for a total of thirty-nine lines. The same set of six words ends the lines of each of the six-line stanzas, but in a different order each time . . ." Wikipedia

Sestinas are a form of torture invented by the French. Whereas the haiku structure excites me, the sestina structure fills me with dread, and a curious pain right behind my eyes, left of my funny bone. Hence today's poem.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

101 Uses For A Beast Of Burden Sestina

If by chance you travel around the world,
sometimes you'll wish you'd stayed at home
when you run across a strange new recipe
made with a substance resembling meat.
Not wanting to insult your host family,
you pray it is at least somewhat edible.

Because if the substance is not edible,
but rather a flavor new to your world
you could embarrass yourself and family
despite the good story you take home
about the time you ate wild yak meat
and were given a hide with the recipe.

It might become an ongoing joke, this recipe.
Your brother announces, "Eww, yak's not edible!".
Your aunt proclaims it's not really a kosher meat
despite the Discovery Channel view of the world.
The teasing rekindles whenever you come home
until you wish you'd never told your family,

though being a bona fide member of this family
meant you were inclined to share that recipe,
flush with excitement at finally being home,
you never even thought about it being edible,
just a sharable part of your tour of the world.
Like a snapshot of the various cultures you meet

where most ingest some form of protein - like meat.
Why couldn't vegetarianism run in the family?
Then the relatives' brains wouldn't be whirled
by the thought of tasting a brand new yak recipe-
not that roots and plants are always that edible,
at least not the way they prepared them at home.

About now you wished you'd never come home,
never informed your kin about sampling yak meat,
didn't confess you found it deliciously edible
for fear of being disowned by your weird family.
Just maybe you could return the ill-favored recipe,
necessitating another trip around the known world.

You'd be far from home and your pesky family,
in possession of the tasty meat of wild yak recipe,
wandering Mongolia, where edible yak is the whole world.


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