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Best Famous Sestina Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Sestina poems. This is a select list of the best famous Sestina poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Sestina poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of sestina poems.

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Written by Elizabeth Bishop | Create an image from this poem

Sestina

 September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother sits in the kitchen with the child beside the Little Marvel Stove, reading the jokes from the almanac, laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears and the rain that beats on the roof of the house were both foretold by the almanac, but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child, It's time for tea now; but the child is watching the teakettle's small hard tears dance like mad on the hot black stove, the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother hangs up the clever almanac on its string.
Birdlike, the almanac hovers half open above the child, hovers above the old grandmother and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house and a winding pathway.
Then the child puts in a man with buttons like tears and shows it proudly to the grandmother.
But secretly, while the grandmother busies herself about the stove, the little moons fall down like tears from between the pages of the almanac into the flower bed the child has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove and the child draws another inscrutable house.


Written by Dante Alighieri | Create an image from this poem

Sestina

 I have come, alas, to the great circle of shadow,
to the short day and to the whitening hills,
when the colour is all lost from the grass,
though my desire will not lose its green,
so rooted is it in this hardest stone,
that speaks and feels as though it were a woman.
And likewise this heaven-born woman stays frozen, like the snow in shadow, and is unmoved, or moved like a stone, by the sweet season that warms all the hills, and makes them alter from pure white to green, so as to clothe them with the flowers and grass.
When her head wears a crown of grass she draws the mind from any other woman, because she blends her gold hair with the green so well that Amor lingers in their shadow, he who fastens me in these low hills, more certainly than lime fastens stone.
Her beauty has more virtue than rare stone.
The wound she gives cannot be healed with grass, since I have travelled, through the plains and hills, to find my release from such a woman, yet from her light had never a shadow thrown on me, by hill, wall, or leaves’ green.
I have seen her walk all dressed in green, so formed she would have sparked love in a stone, that love I bear for her very shadow, so that I wished her, in those fields of grass, as much in love as ever yet was woman, closed around by all the highest hills.
The rivers will flow upwards to the hills before this wood, that is so soft and green, takes fire, as might ever lovely woman, for me, who would choose to sleep on stone, all my life, and go eating grass, only to gaze at where her clothes cast shadow.
Whenever the hills cast blackest shadow, with her sweet green, the lovely woman hides it, as a man hides stone in grass.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

Sestina Of The Tramp-Royal

 Speakin' in general, I'ave tried 'em all 
The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world.
Speakin' in general, I'ave found them good For such as cannot use one bed too long, But must get 'ence, the same as I'ave done, An' go observin' matters till they die.
What do it matter where or 'ow we die, So long as we've our 'ealth to watch it all— The different ways that different things are done, An' men an' women lovin' in this world; Takin' our chances as they come along, An' when they ain't, pretendin' they are good? In cash or credit—no, it aren't no good; You've to 'ave the 'abit or you'd die, Unless you lived your life but one day long, Nor didn't prophesy nor fret at all, But drew your tucker some'ow from the world, An' never bothered what you might ha' done.
But, Gawd, what things are they I'aven't done? I've turned my 'and to most, an' turned it good, In various situations round the world For 'im that doth not work must surely die; But that's no reason man should labour all 'Is life on one same shift—life's none so long.
Therefore, from job to job I've moved along.
Pay couldn't 'old me when my time was done, For something in my 'ead upset it all, Till I'ad dropped whatever 'twas for good, An', out at sea, be'eld the dock-lights die, An' met my mate—the wind that tramps the world! It's like a book, I think, this bloomin, world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die Unless you get the page you're readi'n' done, An' turn another—likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn'em all.
Gawd bless this world! Whatever she'oth done— Excep' When awful long—I've found it good.
So write, before I die, "'E liked it all!"
Written by Robert Francis | Create an image from this poem

Hallelujah: A Sestina

 A wind's word, the Hebrew Hallelujah.
I wonder they never gave it to a boy (Hal for short) boy with wind-wild hair.
It means Praise God, as well it should since praise Is what God's for.
Why didn't they call my father Hallelujah instead of Ebenezer? Eben, of course, but christened Ebenezer, Product of Nova Scotia (hallelujah).
Daniel, a country doctor, was his father And my father his tenth and final boy.
A baby and last, he had a baby's praise: Red petticoats, red cheeks, and crow-black hair.
A boy has little to say about his hair And little about a name like Ebenezer Except that you can shorten either.
Praise God for that, for that shout Hallelujah.
Shout Hallelujah for everything a boy Can be that is not his father or grandfather.
But then, before you know it, he is a father Too and passing on his brand of hair To one more perfectly defenseless boy, Dubbing him John or James or Ebenezer But never, so far as I know, Hallelujah, As if God didn't need quite that much praise.
But what I'm coming to - Could I ever praise My father half enough for being a father Who let me be myself? Sing Hallelujah.
Preacher he was with a prophet's head of hair And what but a prophet's name was Ebenezer, However little I guessed it as a boy? Outlandish names of course are never a boy's Choice.
And it takes some time to learn to praise.
Stone of Help is the meaning of Ebenezer.
Stone of Help - what fitter name for my father? Always the Stone of Help however his hair Might graduate from black to Hallelujah.
Such is the old drama of boy and father.
Praise from a grayhead now with thinning hair.
Sing Ebenezer, Robert, sing Hallelujah!
Written by Ezra Pound | Create an image from this poem

Sestina: Altaforte

 LOQUITUR: En Bertans de Born.
Dante Alighieri put this man in hell for that he was a stirrer up of strife.
Eccovi! Judge ye! Have I dug him up again? The scene is at his castle, Altaforte.
"Papiols" is his jongleur.
"The Leopard," the device of Richard Coeur de Lion.
I Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music! I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson, Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.
II In hot summer I have great rejoicing When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace, And the lightning from black heav'n flash crimson, And the fierce thunders roar me their music And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing, And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.
III Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash! And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing, Spiked breast to spiked breat opposing! Better one hour's stour than a year's peace With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music! Bah! there's no wine like the blood's crimson! IV And I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
And I watch his spears through the dark clash And it fills all my heart with rejoicing And pries wide my mouth with fast music When I see him so scorn and defy peace, His long might 'gainst all darkness opposing.
V The man who fears war and squats opposing My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson But is fit only to rot in womanish peace Far from where worth's won and the swords clash For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing; Yea, I fill all the air with my music.
VI Papiols, Papiols, to the music! There's no sound like to swords swords opposing, No cry like the battle's rejoicing When our elbows and swords drip the crimson And our charges 'gainst "The Leopard's" rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry "Peace!" VII And let the music of the swords make them crimson! Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash! Hell blot black for always the thought "Peace!"
Written by Donald Justice | Create an image from this poem

Sestina: Here In Katmandu

 We have climbed the mountain.
There's nothing more to do.
It is terrible to come down To the valley Where, amidst many flowers, One thinks of snow, As formerly, amidst snow, Climbing the mountain, One thought of flowers, Tremulous, ruddy with dew, In the valley.
One caught their scent coming down.
It is difficult to adjust, once down, To the absense of snow.
Clear days, from the valley, One looks up at the mountain.
What else is there to do? Prayer wheels, flowers! Let the flowers Fade, the prayer wheels run down.
What have they to do With us who have stood atop the snow Atop the mountain, Flags seen from the valley? It might be possible to live in the valley, To bury oneself among flowers, If one could forget the mountain, How, never once looking down, Stiff, blinded with snow, One knew what to do.
Meanwhile it is not easy here in Katmandu, Especially when to the valley That wind which means snow Elsewhere, but here means flowers, Comes down, As soon it must, from the mountain.
Written by David Lehman | Create an image from this poem

Sestina

 for Jim Cummins 

In Iowa, Jim dreamed that Della Street was Anne Sexton's
twin.
Dave drew a comic strip called the "Adventures of Whitman," about a bearded beer-guzzler in Superman uniform.
Donna dressed like Wallace Stevens in a seersucker summer suit.
To town came Ted Berrigan, saying, "My idea of a bad poet is Marvin Bell.
" But no one has won as many prizes as Philip Levine.
At the restaurant, people were talking about Philip Levine's latest: the Pulitzer.
A toast was proposed by Anne Sexton.
No one saw the stranger, who said his name was Marvin Bell, pour something into Donna's drink.
"In the Walt Whitman Shopping Center, there you feel free," said Ted Berrigan, pulling on a Chesterfield.
Everyone laughed, except T.
S.
Eliot.
I asked for directions.
"You turn right on Gertrude Stein, then bear left.
Three streetlights down you hang a Phil Levine and you're there," Jim said.
When I arrived I saw Ted Berrigan with cigarette ash in his beard.
Graffiti about Anne Sexton decorated the men's room walls.
Beth had bought a quart of Walt Whitman.
Donna looked blank.
"Walt who?" The name didn't ring a Marvin Bell.
You laugh, yet there is nothing inherently funny about Marvin Bell.
You cry, yet there is nothing inherently scary about Robert Lowell.
You drink a bottle of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, as thirsty as Walt Whitman.
You bring in your car for an oil change, thinking, this place has the aura of Philip Levine.
Then you go home and write: "He kissed her Anne Sexton, and she returned the favor, caressing his Ted Berrigan.
" Donna was candid.
"When the spirit of Ted Berrigan comes over me, I can't resist," she told Marvin Bell, while he stood dejected at the xerox machine.
Anne Sexton came by to circulate the rumor that Robert Duncan had flung his drink on a student who had called him Philip Levine.
The cop read him the riot act.
"I don't care," he said, "if you're Walt Whitman.
" Donna told Beth about her affair with Walt Whitman.
"He was indefatigable, but he wasn't Ted Berrigan.
" The Dow Jones industrials finished higher, led by Philip Levine, up a point and a half on strong earnings.
Marvin Bell ended the day unchanged.
Analyst Richard Howard recommended buying May Swenson and selling Anne Sexton.
In the old days, you liked either Walt Whitman or Anne Sexton, not both.
Ted Berrigan changed that just by going to a ballgame with Marianne Moore.
And one day Philip Levine looked in the mirror and saw Marvin Bell.


Written by Sir Walter Raleigh | Create an image from this poem

Sestina Otiosa

 Our great work, the Otia Merseiana, 
Edited by learned Mister Sampson, 
And supported by Professor Woodward, 
Is financed by numerous Bogus Meetings
Hastily convened by Kuno Meyer 
To impose upon the Man of Business.
All in vain! The accomplished Man of Business Disapproves of Otia Merseiana, Turns his back on Doctor Kuno Meyer; Cannot be enticed by Mister Sampson, To be present at the Bogus Meetings, Though attended by Professor Woodward.
Little cares the staid Professor Woodward: He, being something of a man of business, Knows that not a hundred Bogus Meetings To discuss the Otia Merseiana Can involve himself and Mister Sampson In the debts of Doctor Kuno Meyer.
So the poor deluded Kuno Meyer, Unenlightened by Professor Woodward -- Whom, upon the word of Mister Sampson, He believes to be a man of business Fit to run the Otia Merseiana -- Keeps on calling endless Bogus Meetings.
Every week has now its Bogus Meetings, Punctually convened by Kuno Meyer In the name of Otia Merseiana: Every other week Professor Woodward Takes his place, and, as a man of business, Audits the accounts with Mister Sampson.
He and impecunious Mister Sampson Are the mainstay of the Bogus Meetings; But the alienated Man of Business Cannot be allured by Kuno Meyer To attend and meet Professor Woodward, Glory of the Otia Merseiana.
Kuno Meyer! Great Professor Woodward! Bogus Meetings damn, for men of business, Mister Sampson's Otia Merseiana.
Written by Francesco Petrarch | Create an image from this poem

SESTINA I

SESTINA I.

Mia benigna fortuna e 'l viver lieto.

IN HIS MISERY HE DESIRES DEATH THE MORE HE REMEMBERS HIS PAST CONTENTMENT AND COMFORT.

My favouring fortune and my life of joy,
My days so cloudless, and my tranquil nights,
The tender sigh, the pleasing power of song,
Which gently wont to sound in verse and rhyme,
[Pg 289]Suddenly darken'd into grief and tears,
Make me hate life and inly pray for death!
O cruel, grim, inexorable Death!
How hast thou dried my every source of joy,
And left me to drag on a life of tears,
Through darkling days and melancholy nights.
My heavy sighs no longer meet in rhyme,
And my hard martyrdom exceeds all song!
Where now is vanish'd my once amorous song?
To talk of anger and to treat with death;
Where the fond verses, where the happy rhyme
Welcomed by gentle hearts with pensive joy?
Where now Love's communings that cheer'd my nights?
My sole theme, my one thought, is now but tears!
Erewhile to my desire so sweet were tears
Their tenderness refined my else rude song,
And made me wake and watch the livelong nights;
But sorrow now to me is worse than death,
Since lost for aye that look of modest joy,
The lofty subject of my lowly rhyme!
Love in those bright eyes to my ready rhyme
Gave a fair theme, now changed, alas! to tears;
With grief remembering that time of joy,
My changed thoughts issue find in other song,
Evermore thee beseeching, pallid Death,
To snatch and save me from these painful nights!
Sleep has departed from my anguish'd nights,
Music is absent from my rugged rhyme,
Which knows not now to sound of aught but death;
Its notes, so thrilling once, all turn'd to tears,
Love knows not in his reign such varied song,
As full of sadness now as then of joy!
Man lived not then so crown'd as I with joy,
Man lives not now such wretched days and nights;
And my full festering grief but swells the song
Which from my bosom draws the mournful rhyme;
I lived in hope, who now live but in tears,
Nor against death have other hope save death!
[Pg 290]Me Death in her has kill'd; and only Death
Can to my sight restore that face of joy,
Which pleasant made to me e'en sighs and tears,
Balmy the air, and dewy soft the nights,
Wherein my choicest thoughts I gave to rhyme
While Love inspirited my feeble song!
Would that such power as erst graced Orpheus' song
Were mine to win my Laura back from death,
As he Eurydice without a rhyme;
Then would I live in best excess of joy;
Or, that denied me, soon may some sad night
Close for me ever these twin founts of tears!
Love! I have told with late and early tears,
My grievous injuries in doleful song;
Not that I hope from thee less cruel nights;
And therefore am I urged to pray for death,
Which hence would take me but to crown with joy,
Where lives she whom I sing in this sad rhyme!
If so high may aspire my weary rhyme,
To her now shelter'd safe from rage and tears,
Whose beauties fill e'en heaven with livelier joy,
Well would she recognise my alter'd song,
Which haply pleased her once, ere yet by death
Her days were cloudless made and dark my nights!
O ye, who fondly sigh for better nights,
Who listen to love's will, or sing in rhyme,
Pray that for me be no delay in death,
The port of misery, the goal of tears,
But let him change for me his ancient song,
Since what makes others sad fills me with joy!
Ay! for such joy, in one or in few nights,
I pray in rude song and in anguish'd rhyme,
That soon my tears may ended be in death!
Macgregor.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

Sestina of the Tramp-Royal

 Speakin' in general, I'ave tried 'em all
The 'appy roads that take you o'er the world.
Speakin' in general, I'ave found them good For such as cannot use one bed too long, But must get 'ence, the same as I'ave done, An' go observin' matters till they die.
What do it matter where or 'ow we die, So long as we've our 'ealth to watch it all -- The different ways that different things are done, An' men an' women lovin' in this world; Takin' our chances as they come along, An' when they ain't, pretendin' they are good? In cash or credit -- no, it aren't no good; You've to 'ave the 'abit or you'd die, Unless you lived your life but one day long, Nor didn't prophesy nor fret at all, But drew your tucker some'ow from the world, An' never bothered what you might ha' done.
But, Gawd, what things are they I'aven't done? I've turned my 'and to most, an' turned it good, In various situations round the world For 'im that doth not work must surely die; But that's no reason man should labour all 'Is life on one same shift -- life's none so long.
Therefore, from job to job I've moved along.
Pay couldn't 'old me when my time was done, For something in my 'ead upset it all, Till I'ad dropped whatever 'twas for good, An', out at sea, be'eld the dock-lights die, An' met my mate -- the wind that tramps the world! It's like a book, I think, this bloomin, world, Which you can read and care for just so long, But presently you feel that you will die Unless you get the page you're readi'n' done, An' turn another -- likely not so good; But what you're after is to turn'em all.
Gawd bless this world! Whatever she'oth done -- Excep' When awful long -- I've found it good.
So write, before I die, "'E liked it all!"
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