Finally–a sestina has been written. Not a great one, maybe not even a “correct” one ( I have seen so many definitions I am utterly confused) but a first effort. Thank you, Jaymie for prompting me to get this flipping thing done. It was..umm…fun.

Oh–and I’m online–at least for now:)




Unteachable was her verdict, as she shook hands

With the mother, and patted the silent child

On her shoulder-a tap tap tap that was heard

Only by the girl who did not speak.

The wise teacher did not understand

The weight of her scholarly voice.


The girl would often remember that voice

At night, when hiding in her room clutching hope in her hands.

She would hear them arguing, using words she didn’t understand–

Phrases that were mercifully foreign to a frightened child.

During these shrill nights she would softly speak

To Jesus, hoping her small voice would be heard.


But she knew children should be seen and not heard,

So she learned not to sound her voice

And instead whispered, letting her empty eyes speak

Volumes, as she searched for gentle, guiding hands

To lead her, a lonely, lost and wordless child

Collecting sentence fragments she’d have to one day understand.


Years of silent suffering coaxed her to understand

They must be true, those words she heard

That day from her teacher’s lips when she was a child—

That to be noticed and to succeed, she needed a steady voice

That carried weight, as if iron in her hands.

She knew she must learn to speak.


How difficult it was trying to speak

With confidence, loud enough so that people would understand.

With trembling, sweating, restless, wringing hands

She stumbled over words, longing to be heard,

Searching desperately for the voice

She abandoned like an unfaithful friend as a child.


It came to her one day as she held her own child–

An infant, an innocent who could not speak;

Still too young to have received the coveted gift of voice,

Yet it was impossible not to clearly understand

The stories she was told, the lesson that she heard

From those tiny, limitless hands.


And in that quiet moment, her child helped her understand

She could always speak, and she finally heard

Her voice within her hands.