Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fun House

Across the room I saw the woman’s face,
her smiling kind and smooth complexion fair.
The matted frame, a throne for searching eyes;
for even from the wall her spirit poured
so effervescent that I wondered where
the smile and life behind the glass has led.

Her folded hands and hair as black as lead
that framed within a frame her striking face
resembled someone’s face I’d seen, but where?
Like walking through a fun house at the fair,
familiar feature twisted pore by pore,
distorted mem’ries loosely veiled my eyes.

I tried to see the world through frozen eyes—
the ones to which my wand’ring eyes had led—
and saw her travels; maps she’d often pore
deciding on adventures left to face.
The hackneyed saying “Life is never fair”
did not apply; she could go anywhere.

Upon her sleeve a wounded heart she’d wear
for broken love had hurt, not changed her eyes.
But oceans span more distance than seems fair;
regret remains an anchor dense as lead.
Perhaps a journey far from Mister’s face
would teach her life and lessons far from poor.

In Rome, the holy water bathed her pores
And in Madrid she’d ask them “Dónde?”—“Where?”
In Giza, sand she blames for Sphinx’s face
And Paris begs she question Lisa’s eyes.
In Delhi, Ghandi, wise and peaceful, led,
revealing that the love she seeks is fair.

These visions of a woman young and fair
resounded, clean and pure like showers pour.
My mind—a pack in which confusion led—
resolved to scrutinize the woman’s ware.
The glasses, red and thin around her eyes
perplexed me—frames the same sit on my face.

As wrinkled soul and face compared our eyes,
a triumph led to cognizance unfair:
I realize now her every pore I wear.


A sestina is a poetry form that requires six sestets in iambic pentameter. The last word of each line in the first sestet determines the words that will end the lines, in a specific and different order, in the following sestets. Sestinas conclude with a tercet that includes two ending words per line.

They are very difficult to write successfully; this is the result of many hours. Let me know what you think! :)


"I am not at peace, I tell her. I want to fail. I am hungry
for what I am becoming. What will you do? she asks. I will continue north, carrying the past in my arms, flying into winter."

— Jack Gilbert