Incremental Poetry ~ 39 Lines

A Mob of Drops

Against the grandeur of this teeming world,
Against the vast outspreading of the ocean,
The subjects upon which I choose to write,
To which my heart and mind are so compelled,
Though in that ocean they be merely drops,
Yet still I write, for they to me are life.

And if I choose to write about my life,
Perhaps these words will pass into the world
When I have passed beyond the realm of drops
To take my place with others in the ocean.
In death, I will no longer be compelled,
So while I live, I give myself to write.

Sometimes I find it difficult to write
The intimate particulars of life,
But details such as these are what compel
Each one of us to stand out from the world,
Or at least to make a difference in this ocean
By infusing some small color in our drops.

If each of us agreed to share our drops,
And not neglect our narrative to write,
Imagine how much more diverse the ocean
Because it shared a taste of every life;
More vibrant, too, the colors of the world,
If we but wrote the words that life compelled.

Write willingly then; do not feel compelled.
Embrace the freedom to distill your drops
Into the mist that permeates the world.
Take up the pen of change and bravely write,
That you may be the change in some soul’s life
Before your life descends into the ocean.

I’m nothing but a drop in this vast ocean.
And yet to lift my voice I am compelled;
For one thing have I learned in this short life:
My purpose is to lead some other drops
And leave a legacy in what I write,
To fit them better for the other world.

My one small life means little in the world,
And yet I feel compelled my tale to write,
For what’s the ocean, but a mob of drops?

Sestina
Copyright © 2019 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

Welcome to my series, Incremental Poetry, where each week the featured poem will be one line longer than the one I share the week before. I have no idea how long I’ll keep this up, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Thank you for stopping by.

Scansion:
Sestina
The brainchild of a 12th Century Provençal troubadour, the sestina utilizes a pattern of repeated end words rather than rhyme.
Composed of six sestets followed by a 3-line envoy, 39 lines total.
Metered: usually iambic pentameter
The same six end words are repeated in each stanza in a particular order, and they are also all included in the envoy.

The end-word pattern is as follows: 

Stanza 1: 123456
Stanza 2: 615243
Stanza 3: 364125
Stanza 4: 532614
Stanza 5: 451362
Stanza 6: 246531

No deviation from this order is tolerated.

Notice that the first line of each stanza has the same end word as the last line of the preceding stanza, and the end word at the end of Stanza 6 is the same as the end word on L1 of Stanza 1.

There is flexibility in the envoy, however. Possible arrangements are:

12/34/56, 14/25/36, 25/43/61, 16/25/34, and 65/24/31

Note: There is also a rhymed sestina, and it has a different pattern. I have never written the rhymed version, nor do I intend to do so any time soon.

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