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Saturday, 28 July 2007

Daughter's Sestina

Even as she murmured nonsense words,
she thought of her own girlhood and felt fear.

Dazed and full of love, the young mother

made up her mind, no effort could be lost

in keeping safe her soft and stroppy daughter.

If she was clever, perhaps all would be well.


With patience and perception she taught well,

growing the maiden strong. With reasoned words,

flexibly she prisoned up her daughter

with logic, safety and a touch of fear --

subconscious fear, perhaps -- it was not lost

upon the daughter. How she loved her mother!

Almost breathlessly she watched, this mother,
watched the young woman pass so well
through years in which the mother had been lost.
Often she would seek her mother’s words,
asking on things that she might think to fear.
Close, still, in teenage years; a good daughter.

As she became older, this good daughter
would move to grow still further, tell her mother
that she might like to try despite her fear.
Her mother listened to the rising well
of curiousness and courageous words
and shuddered, though she knew not why; she lost

perspective, thought her daughter might be lost
from the nest. She moved to keep her daughter,
making new suggestions. Easy words!
Sometimes the daughter argued, but her mother
had nurtured her obedience too well.
Sighing, she gave way to her mother’s fear.

How could she not learn better things to fear?
Watching the world go by with chances lost,
risks not taken, things not learned, how well
she knew the beauty she had missed, daughter
with too much patience for her mother,
needing to act and not waste time with words.


How to break free? She means well, my mother.
I fear she’ll never know how much I’ve lost.
Caught in sestina words, I’m always “daughter”.

5 comments:

Kelly Gorski said...

Oh, how I love sestinas. Thank you for this!

Lynet said...

Hey, I'm not the only one! The mathematical connection is a nice bonus, of course, but mostly I think I have a thing for strict poetic forms.

L.L. Barkat said...

I don't write in strict form, but I realize when I read my work that there's an internal rhythm and sensibility that must have its own structure.

So, is this poem just fun with words, or are you really in need of breaking free? And I was wondering what you've lost (not being one to catch all the mysterious clues inside poetry... sorry!)

Lynet said...

It's certainly not just fun with words. I wrote it a few months back. As for what I feel as if I've lost: chances, risks, things to learn, according to the poem.

I'm still chasing adulthood, that's all, I guess -- and I feel like I'm behind.

L.L. Barkat said...

It's interesting to consider whether we're ever completely free to find what we chase. We do live in a network of relationships.