Nostalgia and Poetry… Poem #4

Ok, this one is a little… experimental.  A sestina is generally composed of longer lines, but I didn’t want mine to get too long-winded.  The result is that it’s a bit obscure…

When Winter Speaks (Sestina) (Draft – 2003)

He is February
bright and ebony dark
in the night,
calls my name
and it echoes;

and the echoes
fade into the February
sky and my name
is lost in his dark-
ness and carried on the wind
into the night,

but the night
is cold and the echoes
are lost in the howl of his wind
that blows February
wildly into March, and the dark
becomes my name,

a name
that only saints can whisper in the night
when his mood is dark
and the echoes
will not stir, for the February
twilight has no wind;

his wind
(that is not there) cannot call my name
and the February
night
echoes
back into the dark;

dark
that comes with a wind
hot on its heels and echoes
with a name
that is not mine, but belongs to the night—
his bitter night in February—

and February comes as a dark
spirit in the night, riding on a wind,
whose name can only be spoken
in the echoes.

February (Sestina) (Revision – 2012)

He is February:
bright, blinding days and ebony dark
stretching across empty fields at night,
and when he calls my name
it echoes;

the echoes
fade into the February
sky and my name
is lost in his dark-
ness and carried on the wind
into the night,

but now the night
is bitter cold and the echoes
are lost in the howl of his wind
that blows February
wildly into March, and the dark
becomes my name,

a name
that only saints can whisper in the night,
when his mood is dark,
but the echoes
will not stir, for today’s February
twilight has no wind;

his wind—
missing now—cannot call my name
and the February
night
echoes
silently into the dark;

forgotten words, slipping from the dark
enter with a silent wind
and he shouts into the echoes
a foreign name
that is no longer mine, but belongs to the night—
this horrible, still night in February—

February comes as a dark
spirit in the night, riding on a wind,
whose frozen name can only be spoken
in the echoes.

Why I changed what I changed… During workshop, a lot of people liked the lyricism but didn’t understand the story I was trying to tell.  So, the biggest changes are the added line length for clarity, and a lot of punctuation.  If you’ll notice, the whole poem is one sentence.  That was done intentionally as a challenge for myself.  I also changed the title so that the reader has to work a bit harder to understand the poem.
What do you think??

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5 thoughts on “Nostalgia and Poetry… Poem #4

  1. Also, the revision is more complex, I felt a dark relationship with a lover, which is almost invisible in the initial draft, I love the part about losing your name, being effaced by the winter and the night ;)

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