Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Sestina, "In the Margins"

In the Margins

You think it helps when the house is quiet,

no one home, or else you’d have to blot

the sounds. Keep music low in the margins

of your attention, don’t have it merry,

or you’ll have to dance to it, and end

what you want to do with your pencil.

Some people don’t even use a pencil,

think that way of writing too quiet.

They tap on computer keys to end

the constant search for rhythm. Can you blot

what’s beating in iambs, the kind of merry

feet the poem dances on in the margins?

As for me, I think in meter, margins

hold notes for revision, and my pencil

makes comments on others’ poems, merry

or sober reflections for those quiet 

times. I use my one deaf ear to blot

everything but the rhythm that won’t end.

that keeps my head in it. At poem’s end

you’ll see I’ve been dancing in the margins

all along, dipping, twirling. If I blot

out my heartbeat, what good is a pencil?

No! I’ll pay attention to the quiet

rhythms, let that music make merry.

It’s good to stay in your heartbeat, merry

thrub, ebb and flow, wait for the poem to end.

You can find poems in the spaces, quiet

places where silence speaks. In the margins

of each image, someone has written. Pencil

scratchings, or invisible words blotted.

Hold the paper up to the light, blotted

lemon juice words appear: magic! Marry

image now to verb, create with pencil

what might be fresh,  lasting beyond the end 

after you’ve slipped into the margins

of your own breath and into the quiet.

Why blot out music alive but quiet?

Why not write in your own margins, merry

to your own end? Dance on with your pencil!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous sestina Carol. That was the devil's own challenge, wasn't it? I am poemed out, totally dry, and relying on my forthcoming trip to Haystack to juice me up again.


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