Thursday, September 08, 2005

When the poem doesn't come

It started off well. I wrote an entire stanza of a sestina in about five minutes. But from then on, nothing salvageable. The harder I tried the less ideas I had. So I stopped and watched TV.

Here's the first stanza + one line. Will there be any more? I don't know.

Metaphysical Sestina

The angel chops his wings and emails heaven
with the news. “God,” he types. “Deep in the earth,
there lies a secret. I would give my soul
to own its power.” He buys a spade and trades
his white gown for a boilersuit, his halo
for a helmet, and digs for metaphysics.

He whistles as he digs. The metaphysics,


Heather O'Neill said...

I'm not really up on my sestinas, but I can comment on content.

I love the idea behind what you've got so far. The angel goes earth- bound, but is not fallen in the normal sense of the words "fallen angel". I also like that your poem takes place in the present time period and that your angel is not afraid to change his white gown in because he's got a dirty job to do to find what is hidden deep within the earth. Something about the subject matter makes me think of the legend of the Philosopher's Stone.

Interesting! I'm interested in seeing the rest posted if you do get farther with it.

I like what you've got so far.
It reminds me of a poem I wrote a while back. I'll post it to my blog when I get the chance.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Thanks, Heather.
I'll post a link to your blog (and others) when I get a chance. It looks good.
With this sestina, I'll have to decide what I want to say before I write any more, or I'll get into bother.
I have a feeling too that I'm going to run into trouble with my end-words, which must repeat each stanza, especially "halo", so I might make a change or two in S1.

Heather O'Neill said...

Welcome, and thanks.

One last comment. The crafting of a sestina is somewhat like what your angel seems to be doing.

The angel has to dig deep into the earth, unsure as to where he's going to get to what he's looking for. It's all an unknown. Or a supposed unknown.

At least that's one way to look at it.

I agree, "halo" could be a hard one to work with.

Sestinas really are neat. It's like each line builds upon the story you've already created.

Done expounding.



Paula said...

LOL, Rob, at least you wrote one stanza. The sestina has been in my project for long years. I promise that if you finish yours, I'll start mine.

The beginning is solid anyway.

shug said...

Hi Rob: I think we sneak about the same poetry sites. You obviously submit your stuff to magazines- have you tried the usual Scottish ones, Chapman etc? There are two magazines down here in the south west, Markings from Kirkcudbright and a brand new one which could be promising, Southlight, from the Crichton Campus Dumfries.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Heather - thanks again. One of the great pleasures of sestina writing is that feeling that you don't know what you're doing or where you're going.

Paula - this will be my fourth sestina if I ever finish it. Each time, I've vowed never to write another one. Now I'm thinking I might try to write about twenty for a special little collection that no one in their right mind would think of reading!

Shug - I was in Chapman 104, also in various New Writing Scotlands. I haven't tried Markings, same with the Edinburgh Review and Cencrastus, but I might have a go. I don't like Cutting Teeth. The Dark Horse gave me a very nice rejection and told me to try again. Thanks for the info on Southlight.