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Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:06 pm
by Catherine Edmunds
Why, oh why did I decide to pick this form :shock:

Anyway, here are the rules. Read them and weep. Thirty-nine lines divided into six six-line stanzas, ending with a triplet. Usually written in iambic pentameter.
You write your first six-line stanza. Note the words that are at the end of each line. Number them 1,2,3,4,5,6. These words continue as your end line words in the next five six-line stanzas, with their order varied as follows: 6,1,5,2,4,3 : 3,6,4,1,2,5 : 5,3,2,6,1,4 : 4,5,1,3,6,2 : 2,4,6,5,3,1. In the concluding triplet, you use the words again, the first line (usually) containing 2 & 5, the second 4 & 3, and the third, 1 & 6. (The order in the last three lines can vary.)

The form was invented by a certain Arnaut Daniel, in the late 12th century. Cheers, mate.

Here's my very first (and probably last) attempt.

Lesson three: the bow hold

A simple thing of wood and hair, the bow
is still a tricky thing to learn to hold.
With each new pupil, I know I must show
the different parts – the stick, the hair, the frog –
and they must get the knack of how to grip
this torture instrument; that’s what I teach.

It should be easy, but it’s not. To teach
a six year old the way to hold a bow
is harder than you think, because their grip
is feeble. Tiny fingers cannot hold
on tightly to the end we call the frog.
It’s no good telling – no – I’ve got to show.

I start at the beginning. First I show
them where to place the thumb – not hard to teach –
you put it by the notch that’s on the frog.
(The frog’s the black block screwed onto the bow
at this end; that’s the bit you have to hold.)
Be careful that it’s not too tight a grip.

Your middle finger opposite; now grip!
No, not like that. Here, let me, I will show
you how to do it, how to learn this hold.
I don’t know why this is so hard to teach,
the placement of the fingers round the bow,
but kids just want to know, why’s that a frog?

I never have an answer. Why a frog?
Who cares, who knows. Now come on. Get a grip.
It’s easy this. It’s just a fiddle bow
with thumb and fingers clasped around. I show
them easily enough. But how to teach?
It’s really hard to demonstrate this hold.

Now listen; all you have to do is hold
the toad, the green and slimy thing, the frog.
Don’t let it jump! (Ah, that’s how I should teach.)
I don’t think it’ll bite you if you grip
it gently, there, that’s better, you can show
your Mum that you’ve learnt how to hold the bow.

Some arrows for your bow? Now, hold on there.
You’ll show the frog some tricks? Look out! Don’t drop!
Grip hard – I’ll teach you archery next week…

Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:16 pm
by Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
Brilliant piece Delph :D

That took guts to even attempt :shock: ... That you have completed it is nothing short of amazing...

Arnaut Daniel. Did he die young? It wouldn't suprise me if he was found dead in a ditch with a violin or writing set shoved up his proverbial :P ...

Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:43 pm
by spacecadet
So we're all agreed that sestinas are the work of Beelzebub?

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:57 am
by Catherine Edmunds
I have no idea why, but I've just written another of these monstrous pieces of poetry. This one's loosely based on an old Star Trek plot. Yes, really.

Truth and Lies

I lied to you, and now you'll guess the truth.
How long, I wonder? Minutes? No. too late.
He's watching, daring me to lift my eyes
and answer silent questions. Must I? Now?
He nods. I turn to you, and yes, I know,
you won't believe a single word I say.

The way we kissed – ye gods – what can I say?
My breath, my lips, my tongue told you the truth
but how will you believe me, now you know
that I'm not who I said. The hour is late
yet you insist on having answers now.
I see it, read it, in your narrowed eyes.

Remember when we met, and those same eyes
were full of words I longed to hear you say?
Desire is gone. You're full of anger now
as bit by bit you learn the sordid truth.
There's one who would defend me, but she's late
I doubt she'll come now. Doubt you'll ever know.

He's telling you the 'facts'. What does he know?
He cannot guess. He didn't see our eyes
That meeting. I was there – I wasn't late
but he was there before me. He will say
that what he saw and heard is all the truth,
but things have changed, it isn't like that now.

I lied, but that was then and this is now
and though he thinks I love him, he can't know
the way you touched me, showed me my own truth,
taught me to see and cleared my clouded eyes,
but what's the point of telling him? He'll say
he's got the proof. My words will come too late.

What proof? Why, papers. Sad but true. It's late
to show you these. But here. Look at them now.
You see? I had to do it, orders say
I must seduce you, find out all you know
and yet... you never saw my lies. Your eyes
failed utterly to comprehend the truth.

So here we are. The truth has come too late.
Within your eyes lies death. No pity now.
You'll never know what else I longed to say...

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:12 am
by Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
Quality. Pure quality Delph. Truth and Lies held me captivated throughout and flows / reads magnificently. It needs no changes. It is complete and a superb observation of petty human manipulations and treacheries, when people are at their weakest moments...