Sestinas are my favorite type of poem to write because they have so many guidelines within which you can be as creative as you wish – as soon as you solve the puzzle of which words go where! A sestina has six stanzas with six lines, and a small verse at the end called an envoi. The end of each line are a series of six words that repeat throughout the poem in a special order (123456, 615243, 364125, 532412, etc. etc.), and the envoi uses all six words in 3 lines. This is a sestina I wrote for my AP Literature and Composition class last year – I asked one of my friends to choose six random words and challenged myself to write a sestina with them. WordPress and I had a fight about how the spaces between stanzas should be shown, and we compromised by me adding dashes between stanzas – they mean nothing to the rhythm and are solely for aesthetic purposes.
Out in the fields there is a girl on a great white horse –
They float as smoothly as a piece of symphonious music.
All of her friends are out with their friends at a party
Getting wasted and forgetting all of their algebra homework.
The horse arches his noble head and snorts like a dragon,
And the two are entwined with silver-gold tendrils of magic.
Each strike of the hoof on the ground creates yet another spell of magic
Illuminating the breathless glory of the rider and the horse
Flying over the ground like some sort of mythical dragon –
Each beat of its wings tapping out the beats of ancient yet eternal music.
To her, this is better than sitting at a desk studying calculus homework –
And it is far better than any wild teenage party.
It just looks like a normal horseback ride to any unknowing observing party,
But to the girl its just like a fairytale, riddled with magic,
The magic of two bodies as one: the centaurs she doodles on her homework.
Two hearts, two minds, working together as a single being, a girl on a horse.
Her friends are out writhing and grinding to the beat of the dance music
But, her heart untamed, she alone tames the great dragon
Of a beast, stronger, taller, faster than she is, an eternal dragon
without the fire, stomping the ground, disrupting the small party
of wild birds resting in the grasses, who twitter with the sweet music
only a bird can make; nature’s magic
relishes the simple pleasures of young love, the heart of the horse
is better than any boy; the horse means more to her future than any homework.
The love of her life gives her his own homework,
to tame the beast, you must first release one’s own inner dragon
that drags you down with crippling fear that you must hide from your own horse.
Shaking inside, you ask for motion, smile serenely at the observing parties –
Hang on, keep breathing, and cue the dramatic music.
Let go as much as you dare, the wind and ground will rush by like magic
Relax, fast-beating heart. Trust is the key to this magic –
A feeling of Pegasus like no other; “Do your homework”
I say to anyone who says this is dangerous; it works like music.
It’s not dangerous in the manner of slaying a dragon,
Try it yourself, you’ll see, it’s better than parties.
Mount up and feel the sweet Avatar connection with your horse.
Listen to the music, great heart of dragon,
When we’re done we’ll do homework, when we’re done we’ll party,
Feel the magic, me and my horse.