Bacopa Literary Review

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Seeking Sestina Skills

Kaye Linden's Attempt at Writing a Sestina (link below to Carolyne Wright's critique of this sestina)

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's Riddles

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   
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.                
(Read Carolyne Wright's critique of this sestina here.)

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