I am in the middle of a wondrous journey inside a writing course called Write Into Light with the beloved author, Martha Beck. (Described as “A telecourse about writing as cultural and spiritual alchemy.”) This week’s assignment was to write a structured poem.  I chose the sestina, and boy was it difficult and fun!  Here is the definition of a sestina:  a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.  Yup, made my head hurt but the process was worth it.


Eden Made Manifest

Dark curls tremble behind the safety of a curtain

Tiny legs wobble upon the planks of the stage

Faint with a gnawing hunger to be seen

And stricken by a thirst for acceptance

The moment has come to manifest

Her secret joy


But then the bounding joy

Is held captive by the fickleness of the curtain

Which now blocks her name from the manifest

Shackles her to the shadow of the stage

Closes the window to acceptance

And strikes all hope of being seen


She howls at her captor, “Damn you, let me be seen!”

Her pitiful rage pummeling all light from her joy

Until numbness replaces acceptance

Despair consumes the curtain

She spits a final curse at the stage

Desolation made manifest


In the wilderness, she learns to manifest

A new course to being seen

Without a performance, without a stage

The only destination, joy

Beyond the safety and treachery of an unruly curtain

She explores a new league of acceptance


Designs a sanctuary of acceptance

Eden made manifest

A place with no curtain

A secret island where she can be seen

Laughing and rolling on waves of ecstatic joy

Authenticly embracing her every stage


Now she is firmly rooted on her own center stage

As she shares her journey of acceptance

That celebrates her dire path to joy

Where she learned to manifest

A course from obscurity to being seen

By lifting her own curtain


And in her divine struggle to manifest joy

She claims the stage and lifts the curtain

To find the gift of acceptance through not being seen