A sestina is a poem of six stanzas of six lines each, with the last word of each line repeated in each stanza. The poem ends with a closing of three lines that tie the six repeated words together. For more information about this form, please see:
Staring out the kitchen window
Scrubbing a bowl with her weathered hands –
How long since she has seen the sun?
A robin hops through the snow
Looking for a morsel left behind by the north wind.
He cocks his head as though listening to her whistle.
She squints at the robin. “Don’t forget to whistle,
No matter it’s winter out.” Tapping on the window,
She pauses for a moment to listen to the wind,
Wringing the dish towel in her damp hands.
The sky is a grey sheet piled up with snow,
Blocking out the afternoon sun.
How she misses the cheer of the sun!
Thinking of springtime, she begins again to whistle
Her song of warmth to the swirling flakes of snow
That dance just inches away, outside her kitchen window.
Sitting at the table with her mother’s prayer book in her hands
She doesn’t pray, just listens to the cooing of the wind.
When she was a girl she ran like the wind
To the top of a grassy hill golden in the sun.
Twirling her dress, reaching out her hands,
Laughing at the merry birds and the tunes they whistle.
They peek at her from their tree house window
While petals float through the air like tufts of snow.
Now the days fall fast as snow
And the years blow away like the wind.
The world spins past her window
Moon and sun, moon and sun
A lifetime in the span of a whistle
The stories of the ages in her hands.
She turns in her kitchen and stretches out her hands
Closes her eyes to the storm and the snow
Until she hears the kettle whistle.
She pours her tea, made of leaves that danced in the wind
And basked in the glory of the eastern sun –
The star that refuses to shine into her window.
She calls to spring with a whistle as she works with her hands.
Outside her little window today the world is white with snow,
But soon the wild wind will welcome, once again, the sanguine sun.
The featured image is courtesy of Julie Jablonski and used with her kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.
Athena lives and writes in Colorado Springs, where she can look up at the mountains and be reminded of the nearness of God. Hiking, reading, and spending time with her family are her passions. She and her husband, Jon, are actively involved in the Anselm Society, and they also run a ministry for blended families at their church. Whether through fiction, nonfiction or poetry, Athena loves to use words to paint portraits that display the work that God does within each person.
Achingly beautiful – you make this difficult poetic form look as lovely and effortless as a dance. “Days fall fast as snow” – what a gorgeous Image. That last line is as sweet and Echoey as bells ringing.
Thank you, Alicia! i appreciate your encouragement, as I am truly a beginner at poetry.
Sestinas are hard to write–well done! I loved these images.
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