A Sestina for India

Updated: May 28

India is wild and full of love.

Its zigzag life and dreams,

Are a sacred beaded tree,

Hiding forgotten secrets,

In a heavily woven fabric,          

And marble inlay glorious.

Moghuls, emperors, palaces and forts so glorious.

Gandhi, and those who showed her love.

A simple loin cloth, threads of its fabric,

Tangled with riddles and broken dreams,

Mended with colour so rich and glued with secrets

In fervent prayer the Tree.

In humble dirty streets the Tree,

Stands unshaken in roots so glorious

Resting below, the goat and mattress keep secrets,

And the holy man inhales the love,

Transcending the street in smoky dreams,

Wearing the ash and holding the fabric. 

On every turn a glimpse to its fabric,

Wafting incense, melting wax, fill grottos in a tree,

And candles light the road and laneways of dreams

With such noble endeavor glorious,

Making all possible in love,

Witness to the ages, its ritual secrets.

Enchanted foreigners come to learn her secrets,

Hidden in stitches of gold and silver fabric.

Blinded by the chaos they find it hard to see the love,

In piles of rubbish beneath the sacred tree.

But hard to miss the resilient faces glorious,

With no time for dreams.

The complicated stories of gods become the dreams,

Paintings laced with marigolds hold secrets,

Enchant the dreamer and praise the holy cow so glorious.

Ancient stories, songs and dance enmeshed in its fabric,

Are prayers for the Banyan Tree,

 And all who pass in love.

Glorious India, stories are dreams lived in the here and now,

Bathing in the mystery of love and hidden secrets,

Eternal in the fabric of the tree. 

—India Collection

—December 2018

A Sestina is a 12th century poetic form (song) invented by Arnaud Daniel a Troubadour in the Provence region of France. He wrote in the Old Occitan language of the Languedoc. The word troubadour likely comes from Trobar which means to invent or compose verse.

Dante praised Daniel as the ‘best smith’ (il miglior fabbro) He was also called by Petrarch ‘grand master of love’. Try Trobar, (write a verse) Write a Sestina, A 39 line poem consisting of 6 stanzas (verses) each with 6 lines with the poem ending with 3 lines called and envoi.(the last three lines must contain all six words as shown below.  Choose six words numbering them from 1 to 6. These six words must be used at the end of each line in the following rotating pattern…

The pattern goes like this: 1st verse:123456 2nd verse 615243 3rd verse 364125 4th verse 532614 5th verse 451362 6th verse 246531 Last 3 lines (62) (14) (53)

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