The old Overlook Hotel has a tradition of sin and devilment,
souvenirs of the rich. Lovely, yes, but its vista is farseeing,
its death grip far-reaching, and certain rooms stay secretive.
A caretaker axed his pretty daughters, now two changelings
prowl the opulent halls, somberly stare. Stale air is redolent
with slaughter. Something malevolent welcomes strangers.
Jack Torance, writer, is hired to loosen winter’s stranglehold
on the isolated, closed resort. Jack’s gifted son, Danny, reviles
his disturbing visions and he quakes at bloodbath predictions.
Wendy, Jack’s loyal wife, fights for family, for their welfare
Jack hurt Danny but is now sober. Promises were exchanged.
Kind Mr. Halloran, the chef, sits with the boy and secretly
tells him of the shining, how some detect the sorrow-secretions
of those departed, how the dead replay roles in the strangest
ways. Avoid room 237, he warns, what is there won’t change.
Danny pedals his big wheels fast down the halls of the devil
as his father somehow disappears, going faster and farther
than the river of blood only the boy sees, a flood of deep red.
Jack is cruel, unstable, and he frightens Wendy. With dread,
she reads his meaty manuscript, horrified by a revealed secret,
knowing they are miles from help, Oh, dear God, they are so far
from civilization and Jack has retyped duplicate words, strangely,
page after unhinged page. Jack returns, says things that are so evil
that she strikes him with a bat, shocked by this psychotic change.
Wendy drags him into the pantry, locks it, praying he’ll change
back. She rests, but Danny screams and he has scrawled REDRUM
on the door. The mirror deciphers the word, MURDER, as evil
arrives withan ax. What awful things the heart can keep secret,
He has sabotaged the Snowcat; they are powerless and stranded.
Wendy helps Danny escape through a small window, run far,
she weeps as Jack makes kindling of brittle wood, a plot farfetched
yet one she must face. The mouse she has been for years changes
and she stabs his hand. Heaven knows, the soul is omnifarious,
Halloran comes, Jack leaves to plant the ax, a hero’s chest blooms red.
Danny watches what is left of his father die, cries out from his secret
hiding place, a chase ensues in a frozen maze; good outlives evil.
So beware all wayfarers, avoid that next interchange
for secrets fly in the dead of night, traveling the red-eye
and evil can call home the lost, the touched and the very strange.
*This is the a very contemporary sestina. It follows a free verse format with plenty of enjambment. The six end words are manipulated to such a point that the 'core' word is often barely recognizable.
I decided to challenge myself, show a sweet poet here that a sestina is only as dull as a scribe ALLOWS it to be, that we can stretch the limits of a form, retain most of its nerve system, but give it as much muscle as we wish! Another lovely poet here said to me recently, we write outside the box because there is NO box!
I like to keep the box. The box is useful. It's a base. I cut windows in it. I paint the box and add a door. I put things I like in the box. I can happily sit in the box and dream or leave the box whenever I choose because it is MY box. The box is not a bad thing, but it IS only a thing...
I will be posting a blog about contemporary sestinas and the development of this one.
So, this is not the best poem I've ever written. LOL. It is actually a B MOVIE. But, I do think that I at least have written a sestina that is not boring and overly-repetitive!
Hugs to you, Andrea... so, you likey? Or not so likey?