Posted in Poetry

Crane (A Sestina)

I must credit (or perhaps blame) my good friend, Lynn Burton at Colorful Pen for posting an excellent Sestina.  Her use of the form served as a reminder that the sestina has been moldering on my list of forms.  Don’t get me wrong, I love working with forms, but every time I looked at a Sestina, I suddenly had some pressing appointment that I had forgotten! Turns out to be just as challenging as I suspected. For a terrific discussion of the sestina and how to go about writing one of you own, I highly recommend Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides.  Here is CRANE:

This world wends its way along a course,
time a swiftly flowing current
of years and moments blown before the wind
as the falling of the leaves
barren like the land over which they fly
we long to see tomorrow, our necks craned.

But the simplicity of today is in the instinctual crane
who finds satisfaction as a matter of course
in driving hard his wings to fly
to be one with the air currents
lofting over tree-top’s green leaves
moving sympathetically against the wind

At evensong he makes his way, winding
homeward, neither striving nor craning
his outstretched neck, leaving
the river to complete its course
keeping pace, his call current
and true, to the roost he flies.

So too, our days fly
past us, caught in the winds
of time, a swiftly flowing current
and we dither, forming origami cranes;
childlike, they are too coarse
to display with the autumn leaves

And though we long to comprehend those falling leaves,
they brown and change, flying
falling into dusty coarseness,
swept away with the violent winds
of coming winter whose snow is as white as a crane’s
feathers, whose face is as crimson as a ripened currant.

So our lives are a fluid current
we grasp at time as winter leaves
and spring returns as faithful as the crane
who from the roost flies;
the clock chimes and we wind
its gears and pour along the course

Hold fast your current course
as leaves caught in the wind
your life a flying flash as brilliant as the crane in flight.

© Jilly’s Poetry & Photo  All Rights Reserved

Sandhill Crane © Jill Lyman


A wild soul writing poetry.

22 thoughts on “Crane (A Sestina)

  1. Oh my, Jilly! There is no place to cull and say, “this is…” Your poem gyres and gambles around interlocking and inter-playing motifs that ultimately straight-lines to the theme of the brevity of life and the necessity of living it with purpose.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was excited to see you’d posted your sestina and then happily skipped over here to read and was blown away! No surprise there. I’ve said it before, but your writing is seamless and this is no different. Simply stunning, the theme well executed. Well worth the wait. That crane’s face. I like how the red is heart-shaped. And those eyes, he knows what it’s all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I followed your lead. I was just talking about that picture a few minutes ago and how he looks right at you and says, “What? You’re just figuring this out?” Yeah, we humans can be slow. (So, are you planning on a half sestina for the August challenge?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! You did an excellent job. Ha, yeah, we can be slow, for sure.
        I said I’d be okay if I never wrote another sestina, but I’ve actually been itching to try again. What is wrong with me?! I definitely want to do a half sestina for the August challenge.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha, maybe that’ll cure it. I was actually glad to cross it off my list and never touch it again, but there’s just something about the challenge of the form that I want to return to.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hot damn! Reading and re-reading and re-reading. That was ambitious in every way, form & theme working together to create the wind-tumbled line endings and flight of cranes flow that are your subjects. Risky to take on the great topic of Life, but never collapsed into predictable or over-simple.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Best way to do it. Three quick, minor, super picky suggestions. 1. “Over” for “o’re”. You don’t need any bow to Byron or Keats. You stand firm on your own ground. 2. You could probably take the bumps out of “instinctual cranes” with “the instinct of cranes”, and swap to the plural throughout for no cost. 3. I think you dropped a line in the forth stanza? I sincerely hope you come back to this in a few months or years and see where you can sharpen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Months? Years? Let’s go with minutes… I welcome your thoughts. I think I chose the o’re for rhythm’s sake – the meter dies hard, but I agree. The instinctual crane vs instinct of the crane changes the subject from Crane to Instinct. That one requires some thought… which is more important in that stanza…?
        The plural – do you mean cranes? I only used it plural once ( I think) and that is on the origami, which represents our ditherings in life. What purpose on moving from a single crane to the community of…?
        On the dropped line, you had me digging through my notebook, trying to read my horrid handwriting – indeed! I will edit momentarily.
        All that being said – I will await your sestina.


      3. You are right about instinct vs crane. I was thinking more about smoothing the line than the impact on the meaning. Ah well. *My* sestina? Can I wait out Charlie and hope he never gets around to it?

        Liked by 2 people

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