The sestina mandates six verses of six lines each with a fixed repetition pattern, and a tercet at the end known as an envoi, which contains the six repeated words. The bolded letters in the poem are the repeated words: silence, nature, mourning, back, height, home.
Naropa yokes his yak in silence.
I study the fine pink fingers of a Tibetan dawn, nature's
magic. Wispy white clouds highlight my mourning,
my dreaded ride back
from this mountain height.
I turn to Naropa: "This cave is home."
Naropa feigns surprise. "Home? Home?"
Where on this earth is home? He laughs, but falls into silence,
contemplation. He raises his immense monk's height
onto the yak: "Such a gentle nature
she has," the master says as he strokes her back.
"Learn from her." He rides down the mountain, into morning
and along a stony trail. I follow. "Listen," he says. "No mourning(Read Carolyne Wright's critique of this sestina here.)
for this mountain cave that you call home
because you must go back
to within your true Self, into inner silence
to find your true nature.
Believe me, truth is not upon this mountain height
nor is your home upon any other height
nor in any valley. Still this restless mourning
and find your essential nature
your ancient face, your original home
within the depths of complete silence
Listen, listen, and never look back.
I am censured by the Master. It is not my place to talk back
to the teacher. Dwarfed by his lofty height
I am chided into silence,
into a meditation of sorts, a mourning
for the mountain cave, a longing for home,
for his teachings, for this sanctuary in nature.
The Master speaks: "About your essential nature:
sit still with a straight back.
Find the veiled but simple way home
by coming down from this physical height.
Because you try to finger the nameless you mourn
the loss of it. Now, no more questions. Meditate in silence.
I ride down the spiraling trail in the peace of nature from this mountain height
back to the physical monastery with the hope of a new morning
inside my inner home. For now, I lament my mountain cave in silence.