The Hands That Turn (a sestina)
Take this grain of sand and turn
in tender hands, in waves of time,
douse with water, scrub the dirt
until rounded pearl, chiseled and beat,
keep safe in velvet from dusty gray,
link other grains softened, a stranded full.
Take empty words and churn ‘til full,
through days and red rivers, rush and turn,
scrape, wad, erase the gray
delete, rewrite, through pages of time,
until our words breathe a lovely beat–
golden streams of prose from washed away dirt.
Take ragged songs borne in earthen dirt
off-key, no rhythm, with refrain full
of senseless sound and uneven beat,
repeating cacophony, a circular turn,
needle-scratched melody, turning through time,
until symphonies burst from offbeat gray.
Take this canvas, washed in gray
empty, black-spilled, swirls of dirt
repaint, rewash, mix hues of time
recompose, complement, color full,
until beauty, through a prismic turn
of light, we’re dancing to painted beat.
Take this picture of fallen world, beat
by sorrow, through time turned gray,
seeking meaning as sunsets turn;
edit, enhance, delete the dirt
until framed with me, us– the family full–
bride, more beautifully grown through time.
In hands tender, set hearts in time
until they pulse a rhythmic beat,
pearls on a strand, glowing beauty full;
without him, the world is colorless gray,
easily blown away scraps of dirt,
unless through his fingers our hearts are turned.
In his time, he transforms the gray
of dirt-hewn mess, life bitten and beat
in tender hands, hearts turn ruby-red full.
Sharing the above poem with Books & Culture, and a call to write a poem about cultivation by Marcus Goodyear, senior editor at TheHighCalling.org and FaithinTheWorkplace.com. I originally wrote a free verse poem, and then was inspired by another entry, a sestina, written by L.L. Barkat (you can read it here). I’d never written (nor heard even) of a sestina, but enjoyed her entry, the sound and flow of the piece, and after looking up a few articles online on how to write one, decided to give it a try. I attempted to rewrite the free verse into the sestina form (the attempt is the poem above). (Interestingly, L.L. Barkat will be highlighting the sestina form at the Tweetspeak poetry blog in July.)