Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Unprompted (a sestina)

I was hungry for prompts after the crazy Poem-A-Day April. 

I found quite a few over at Margo's. One of the possibilities she suggests is "a prompt that you saw and didn't get to" last month.

On April 13th Poetic Asides asked us to write a sestina for an extra credit. I was working on a string of connected haiku (a haiku for each day/prompt), but I thought I'd give sestina a try later. 

For the "fun" of it...

Here's my first (and probably last) attempt at sestina. 

The month of April on their silver wings
The birds of prompt have carried far away.
Now May’s upon us and we’re feeling lost,
Without direction wander, maps without,
The wilderness of poems unprompted.
We long for April with its set of rules.

When chaos of a sudden freedom rules,
With no plan waiting for us in the wings,
Reject our Muse that shows up unprompted
And claims she knows the secret, drive away
Insights spontaneous reserve without,
Complete the circle: lost, and found, and lost.

Whatever confidence we gained is lost
When May proclaims one rule, “There are no rules.
Roam free, my friends, constraints and forms without,
Let inspiration guide you, spread your wings,
Pack up your fears, and throw them all away,
And travel light. Be daring, unprompted.”

What is it “to be daring, unprompted?”
We’ve had a battle with ourselves and lost.
Not our worse fears, but dreams we’ve thrown away.
We worship Prompt that shapes our lines and rules
Our world, our voice, chains to the ground our wings.
We cannot fly with Prompt. Can’t fly without.

“We cannot fly with Prompt. Can’t fly without.”
Why do we bury our words? Unprompted
This gloom and rage, we to the ground our wings
Chain with our thoughts, and switch from “found” to “lost”,
And blame our goddess Prompt and April rules
For our apparent weaknesses – a way

To put up no resistance and a way
To let, responsibility without,
Our Muse be ill and die. No guilt. No rules.
Who are the culprits? Fearless, unprompted,
The month of May and its accomplice, lost
Backstage, behind the prompted, in the wings.

We are the culprits, cowards. Unprompted
Our Muse arrives, her inspiration lost
On us. The weight of boredom on our wings.

Live for the Love of it, 
The Happy Amateur

Sasha A. Palmer


  1. Wowee! I love what you did with 'wings' in particular. Now, you can put your feet up.