Connotations, or: Perhaps…

d’Verse ‘Open Link Night’

I am sharing the poem below for today’s d’Verse OLN. I wrote this in April 2021, approximately one year after I started writing poetry here at WordPress (after decades of not writing poetry). This was my first attempt at a ‘sestina’; and I still recall how much I enjoyed playing with the lines to make those end words flow! 😅

A sestina

I've been writing poetry for nearly a year; 
Poetic forms beguile and, oh, so fascinate me; 
After all, they shape our intended connotations 
no less than our very words do, and they're so 
much fun to play around with. Perhaps 
I should try my hand at a sestina. 

I've heard tell that one famed sestina
took its tormented composer more than an entire year
to craft so now I'm wondering if, perhaps,
such a project would simply be too much for me;
I mean, let's be honest, shall we? I'm not so
adroit as to evoke especially suggestive connotations.

Still, I could avoid attempting any especially nuanced connotations
entirely if I were to write a true sestina
for the very first; and my readers are all so
kind that they would surely forgive my first-year
clumsiness and continue to shower me
with loving support regardless... well... perhaps...

Really, now that I consider it, perhaps
I shouldn't be so worried about artful connotations
in the first place. They don't really become me,
nor my very direct poetic style; and any sestina
of mine would thus be likely forgotten within a year;
so why worry myself so?

Maybe my first sestina will receive bad reviews. So
what? If the final result is indeed ungainly, perhaps
I could attempt to produce one that's more elegant next year;
I could continue honing those subtle connotations;
I could become a virtuoso of the sestina!
Perhaps, some day, burgeoning poets would speak of me...

No! It shouldn't matter what others think of me;
Exploring poetic forms is something I do for myself, so
if I don't derive pleasure from constructing a sestina,
if the process is unfulfilling, if the words grate on me, perhaps
I should abandon pretentious wordplay; failed connotations;
unflattering attempts at cleverness... at least for another year.

I've never formally studied creative writing, perhaps,
but I have long and deeply pondered the manifold connotations
of the word 'poetry' this year.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

41 thoughts on “Connotations, or: Perhaps…”

  1. The sestina is both intricate and sometimes not so hard. I have written a few, but what is hard to give them a true poetic message I have found. Of course it is even more challenging if you also try to write it in iambic pentameter #foolisheffort

  2. An honest, relatable sestina, David. I haven’t written one for a long time, I haven’t the energy to write long poems these days, but I remember well that feeling when ‘poetic forms beguile and, oh, so fascinate’ and agree that ‘they’re so much fun to play around with’, especially the way you’ve played with connotations, suggestive and nuanced.

  3. The struggle for every poet is first to find a more true connection with reality through language craft, and second to make it visible and audible to others in that way. Both are evident here in the humility that such things take time and work. A favorite poet of mine once said it takes decades to write poetry. Enjoy the road there

  4. A virtuoso of the sestina…now there’s a goal! I have to admit, it takes me quite awhile to compose one. I can never sit down and just write the whole thing all at once.
    I really like the way you are always making poems about poems. (K)

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