Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300This will be one of your most challenging Oulipost prompts! A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text.

THANK YOU, DOUG LUMAN! Doug’s sestina tool made this much simpler, though still quite the challenge. Choosing the six end words, no matter how good they seem, can still cause a few headaches by the time SIX stanzas are accomplished.  I had not aimed for making sense, in some cases calling for superlong lines to accommodate and in several places it is touch and go, especially in the envoi.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what I ended up with, still in time to go shopping for special treat once-a-year Easter eggs from the local cheese/chocolate/fudge shop.




The Sestina

Zoo Variations

The Land of a Thousand Hills, this pocket-sized country,
Rwanda rolls across the heights of central Africa,
misted landscape of contoured fields and hidden valleys.
Deep in the humid heart of the continent,
genocide against a million people killed, horrific days seared in memory
beautiful and tragic, 100 horrific days’ history.

The way CIA analysts once examined history,
the hallmarks of the prime minister of this country:
this secrecy taken further than his predecessors’ memory.
He doesn’t talk to Africa,
an environment he couldn’t explain once exposed on this continent,
the sleazy way the game is played in the big leagues in Canadian valleys.

Along the watersheds of Nile and Congo valleys,
though a tale of despair may be its history,
rainforests are home to endangered mountain gorillas of the continent,
they live in several far-flung groups amid nettles country.
Eastern Rwanda a stark, different Africa
spring-loaded impalas, bar-code arrangements of zebras, a savannah scrubland memory.

Mountain gorillas, Rwanda

Mountain gorillas, Rwanda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The government has not yet shaken off the miasma of sleaze- memory.
Politics is by its nature secretive valleys,
a forest so thick it looks like crosshatched Africa.
At dusk, the chatter and cry of lawyers and senators, it is wise to be suspicious of history.
The way our legal system is set up in this country?
No way that should be legal on this continent!

Panda diplomacy on this continent:
cherry-blossom tourists’ memory,
quarry out in their “habitat” country,
pandas’ playground of brown grass and leafless trees, valleys
two corpulent and charismatic hostages, heedless of our cooing history,
the new mother seated Buddha-like, chomping on bamboo from Africa.

English: 0

English: 0 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her cub, plump as a dumpling, fast asleep in the crook of a tree from Africa.
The baby takes a bus to Beijing on the Chinese continent,
selling the vile jabberwocky history:
65,000,000 unnatural deaths under Chinese Communism says a memory.
Execution sites should not be located around tourist area valleys,
the zoo an arcade of inhumanity seasoned in country.

I am the only visitor to this country.
Everyone else is at the zoo valleys.
What is the meaning of change? Memory?


CAS April 19, 2014

You will find other sestinas for today posted at the Oulipost blog here: http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/category/oulipost/

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