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Traditional Poetry Forms:

  bullet   Acrostic
  bullet   Ballad
  bullet   Cinquain
  bullet   Clerihew
  bullet   Diamante
  bullet   Didactic
  bullet   Epic
  bullet   Epigram
  bullet   Epitaph
  bullet   Etheree
  bullet   Fable
  bullet   Free Verse
  bullet   Ghazal
  bullet   Haiku
  bullet   Katauta
  bullet   Kyrielle
  bullet   Kyrielle Sonnet
  bullet   Lanturne
  bullet   Limerick
  bullet   Minute Poetry
  bullet   Monody
  bullet   Monorhyme
  bullet   Naani
  bullet   Nonet
  bullet   Ode
  bullet   Ottava Rima
  bullet   Palindrome
  bullet   Pantoum
  bullet   Quatern
  bullet   Quatrain
  bullet   Quinzaine
  bullet   Rispetto
  bullet   Rondeau
  bullet   Rondel
  bullet   Rondelet
  bullet   Sedoka
  bullet   Senryu
  bullet   Septolet
  bullet   Sestina
  bullet   Shape Poetry
  bullet   Song
  bullet   Sonnet
  bullet   Tanka
  bullet   Terza Rima
  bullet   Terzanelle
  bullet   Tetractys
  bullet   Tongue Twister
  bullet   Triolet
  bullet   Tyburn
  bullet   Villanelle
 

Sestina

The sestina is a strict ordered form of poetry, dating back to twelfth century French troubadours. It consists of six six-line (sestets) stanzas followed by a three-line envoy. Rather than use a rhyme scheme, the six ending words of the first stanza are repeated as the ending words of the other five stanzas in a set pattern. The envoy uses two of the ending words per line, again in a set pattern.

First stanza, ..1 ..2 ..3 ..4 ..5 ..6
Second stanza, ..6 ..1 ..5 .. 2 ..4 ..3
Third stanza, ..3 ..6 ..4 ..1 ..2 ..5
Fourth stanza, ..5 ..3 ..2 ..6 ..1 ..4
Fifth stanza, ..4 ..5 ..1 ..3 ..6 ..2
Sixth stanza, ..2 ..4 ..6 ..5 ..3 ..1

Concluding tercet:
middle of first line ..2, end of first line ..5
middle of second line ..4, end of second line..3
middle if third line ..6, end of third line ..1


Example:
Sestina, to the lover's rite

We stand at last upon this eventide, to give
to each our vow.  To the lover's rite abide.
Let that which does not end return,
and let no turning days divide us.
I confess I am afraid of what certain mystery
a seasonless sun reveals.

I fear more the solitary life revealed
in Autumn's long spell.  Then let it be this life I give
without caution.  And let the mystery
rest untouched where sea and land abide.
My soul recalls no still night felled between us.
It seems we were born together, and together return

anew to the whitening day.  To the turn
of the sovereign tide.  My hands laid bare reveal
another light.  And hand to my hand we make a country of us,
my companion of nightlong ways.  Let these common lands give
shape to sleeping wiles.  Let the bright and pebbled shore abide
the rushing sea.  "In country sleep" we'll toil our songstilled mystery.

And will we sing, in furthered seasons, the hearthstone mysteries
of time's greener passion?  Love again our tamer glories?  If so return
to the hallowed spire of youth.  In this gentle fate we'll abide,
for what is our hymn but a child's bedtime refrain?  What is revealed
in mystery but the coming breeze we long to breathe and give
to the new?  Its buried scent a memory which knows us

again.  Then by the sway of winter's solemn flame let us
firm this vow.   Though the prophet moon still steadies her mystery
before us, our last will be a greener gold, given
to the one sacrament.  And breath by breath return
again to our certain selves, our nightbound promise revealed.
Heart of this heart abide.

Soul of this soul abide.
We were born together,  and together let us
pass unknown through porticos of the half-light shadow, revealing
in turn the break of every lasted dawn, and each unsummoned mystery
inspired on a shifting sea.  It is the end days return.
The proffered gift we give.

Abide at last, and forever love, the mystery
of us.  Bound by time's lasting measure we'll return,
revealing with every breath our souls to give.

Copyright  2000 Dave Charlon


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