Notes: This is written in the poetic form of a sestina. The form is incredibly complex, as the same last six words are used to end every line in each stanza. This repetition makes for an eerie read. I love trying out new poetry forms, so when first found "Sestina" by Elizabeth Bishop, I took it as a challenge to my poetry-hood (word, much?). I would love if you checked out some sestinas online and told me how I did!
The Children and the Sea
There was a small cottage on a rock
Where the paddocks met a wide blue sea.
You could watch dolphins from the window
As they swam up in the sunlight
And see the water creep up the sand
And brush away the seashells every morning.
It was on just such a shiny morning
In that house on the hot, flat rock
Where the children trailed in sand
As they came up from the sea
Burnt and hungry, the sunlight
Chasing them in, washing the windows
And the glinting windows
Gleamed in every morning
And their faces like sunlight,
The children hurried across the rock
And yelped in the cold sea.
The waves were cold, but warm was the sand.
It was one day in that sand
That the children saw through the window
The crabs coming up from the sea
Like an army bright in the morning
Marching across the hot rock -
Warriors, heralds of the darkening sunlight.
The next day the sunlight
Again beamed down heartlessly on the sand
And seemed to shimmer on the rock.
Yet the children watched from the window
And did not go out that morning
For the water was red – a bloody sea.
For days, the children stayed from the sea
Even though the air seemed clean in the sunlight
Because of the morning, that morning
When the whales were beached on the sand
And the children were herded from the windows
As people, armed, came over the rock
And the sea that day was washed red and the sand
Was shamed by the sunlight and the windows
Hung grey that morning – reflecting red rivulets in the rock.