Stories & Poetry

A Sestina of Dreams for Friday


Hello everyone and happy Friday!

A huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my eldest brother, who’s turning 27 today: you’re a bit weird, but that’s cool. Weird is in right now, and I like you.

Otherwise, the rest of our house got packed up today and put into storage, so we are seriously on the way outta here soon – crazy stuff! Three more sleeps on Australian soil and we’re off to live in Oklahoma for the next few years. It’ll be nice to get settled in and quit living in a half-way kind of world.

You’ll all be thrilled to know that I successfully completed my submission for the Richell Prize on Wednesday evening, which involved admitting that I don’t have a complete chapter breakdown for my novel and polishing up the first 8000 words – luckily James read through it and picked up a few stubborn errors before I sent it off. Anyway, I’m now fully engrossed in working on my poetry portfolio for Uni which I need to submit before we go. As part of my assignment, I’m intending to include a Sestina.

A Sestina is a 39 line poem comprised of six 6-line stanzas and a final 3-line stanza which follows a distinctive repetition scheme. The repetition occurs through the final word of each line and looks kind of like this:

Stanza 1 – ABCDEF

Stanza 2 – FAEBDC

Stanza 3 – CFDABE

Stanza 4 – ECBFAD

Stanza 5 – DEACFB

Stanza 6 – BDFECA

Stanza 7 (envoi) – ECA or ACE

The last stance has to use all six end words in the three lines. Sestinas are hard work people. Seriously. As it is, I’ve played around with the form in this version a bit and used synonyms in every second stanza to mix it up a bit; depending on my mood in the next few days, it may change again before submission. But enough teaching of poetic forms for today – have a read of this one and let me know what you think!

A Sestina of Dreams

The moon is an anchor in the open ocean sky

itching for restless ships to sail a dream,

yet on the quiet floor below

shipwrecked skeletons are waiting;

and with our failures, we’re lying

disconsolate & forgotten in the dark.


Slumber, swaddled in the darkness,

we’re hidden from the welkin,

choking on the rot of perfidy.

Fighting off the lures of a fantasy

temptations bide their time,

patiently, they’re lurking underneath.


Our skin is tepid water. Below

we let our terrors rule the dark,

and we pretend to lie in peaceful waiting

faces turned like flowers to the sky;

gnawing bellies searching for a dream

empty faces a mask, discarded, lying


like a frozen corpse reposing in

the snow. Salt water melts the ice beneath

and rusts the broken lock of reverie.

If we can just breathe in shadow,

break through into the heavens

abandoning the grasp of endless tarry,


we may learn lessons of our waiting —

so to leave behind our cruel and lying tongues.

Expose our icy truths up to the sky

to break away the shackles of below

and let the stars invade our silent dark,

allow ourselves again to find the dream.


Don’t dismiss it as a cruel and pointless daze,

and return us to eternities to linger

embraced by stretching shadow;

see! We’re caught in repose

the stirring beginning beneath

our skin, reaching again for the azure.


She hangs, illuminating darkened skies,

calling to our waiting hands below —

“Take up the dreaming again, from whence you left it: in the water lying.”

— Ana.

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