12 Degrees & Skiving

what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice

• Week 4 • Sestina •

Raspberry Sestina

At the foot of my bed the cat sprawls spectacularly in salubrious
repose, far beyond purring, chasing giant mind-mice while I wake early
to a gospel choir of birds. I’ve come to consciousness in a kind
of excitement that courses with little thrills through a gate
within a-not-quite-remembered dream as fluid as oil
and, curiously, spiced with the sweet aftertaste of raspberry.

Rising, I’ve an urge to bake for the first time since Theo died. Raspberry
scones infiltrate the cottage nooks with their salubrious
delight. I gobble two, butter sliced thick as cheese, lick the oil
as it melts and slicks my fingers, then imagine Grace might come early,
and look up as I hear the drawl of a car idling at the gate.
Grace, my first and last enchantment in this world. Grace, the kind

of person who recalls childhood glee and ensures I do the same. A kind
soul. Sisters, I suppose. I caught her scent the first time, before I turned to see her, raspberry
felt hat in hand, on that first day we met as she waited by a gate.
Her skin luminesced, a salubrious
merging of fine city living and the pastoral lustre of early
evening light. Her bouquet was revealed simply to be rose oil.

Like my own palm, I know her perfume – that divine anointment of oil.
We basked in innocence on the brink of departing from us both in kind,
although she lingered long in her youth when I chose to marry early.
Those times in between have left me alone on my raspberry
farm, marvelling over the years since those salubrious
halcyon days, and now. Of late it is me who waits, my eye on the gate.

The idling car pulls away and I wander in slippered feet down to the gate,
waxing domestic over the removal and prevention of the stains from engine oil
darkening in smudges along the drive. Nothing in the mail box but a salubrious
wad of junk mail that’s pooled for snail-eaten days. Kind
thoughts dissipate, and I shred and throw them for mulch beneath the closest raspberry
canes. Looking up, I see Grace’s car rounding the bend. She’s early!

But the slant of sun through the ghost gums tells me it’s no longer early –
the morning I’ve frittered away. I wait, in dressing gown, by the gate.
Grace grins at me through the windscreen, through lipstick of vivid raspberry.
She’s spruced to the hilt. I swing the gate open for her – it needs oil
at the hinge, (a little like my hip) but leaping through me is a childish kind
of jubilation that everything in this living world is salubrious.

Later, after tea and scones and other such things salubrious, I shower. In the mirror, cleanliness defines my early-gained wrinkles.
“Almond oil,” Grace suggests, from behind the raspberry-marmalade fur of my cat. Kind, though,
reminding me anew that I have time enough on this side of life’s gate.

The Sestina form is a 39 line poem of 6  stanzas, each of which have 6 lines, followed by a 3-line envoi. The words that end each line of the first stanzas are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas, rotated in a set pattern (see the image I pilfered from Wikipedia).
The 6 words I’ve picked at random are salubrious, early, kind, gate, oil and raspberry.

The form looks more difficult than it is – worse when you see the structure illustrated – but the hardest part I find is finding the right words so that they don’t become stale. The best words are those with more than one meaning, or a word that is recognised as a noun and a verb. In this case, I think “salubrious” is somewhat overdone…


3 comments on “• Week 4 • Sestina •

  1. Julie Mundy
    February 7, 2012

    Thanks for teh follow on my walksmelbourne and writerscompetitions blogs, katmandoo! I really love what you’re doing here and can learn so much from you. I hope you also like my weekly poem entry at http://50wordsfor50countries.com – a much more simple affair than yours, but which captures my life experiences. I am up to country no. 40 and am really loving the regular weekly discipline.
    Good luck with your weekly challenge!

  2. Kittykatmandoo
    January 5, 2016

    Reblogged this on the shiny adventures of kittykatmandoo and commented:

    Lunedì Poesia – Raspberry Sestina 2012

Tell me wotcha reckon

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 22, 2012 by in Sestina and tagged , , , .
A Ciência nas Coisas

Fatos e Curiosidades sobre a Natureza e tecnologia


"per l' allegria il pianeta nostro è poco attrezzato. Bisogna strappare la gioia ai giorni futuri "

The Artistry

by Isabelle Warren

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

Two Twitch A Tale

Linking collage work to the meaning of personal and universal symbols.

At Home in Florence: Italian Renovations

This is my adventurous story about buying, designing, and renovating homes in ITALY


guardian of irish mythology

Dirty, Naked & Happy

is currently taking a break from blogging x

Gathering just-a-bit-o moss

Attempting not to make too little or too much sense


I help you unlock the peace and strength already within you

Tara Sparling writes

Book Humour. A Sideways Perspective on the Bonkers Business of Books


"C’è molta speranza, ma nessuna per noi." (Franz Kafka)

A Holistic Journey

Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering


Expatty-cakes: Diary of an American southerner turned expat


Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Martin Diotte

Creative Artist


Discover the truth about mental health

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Lady Of The Cakes

Vignettes from a multi-lingual, multi-cake-eating freelance existence


Eyes ten degrees above the horizon

Crafted in Carhartt

about women who do amazing things

Fugitive Fragments

by Mike McGuire

Tricia Drammeh

A Creative State of Mind

elizabeth frattaroli

Writing for Children and Young Adults #amwriting

Jane Dougherty Writes

About fantastical places and other stuff

Lucy's Light

Underground Energy - Scientific Documentation of the failures of an OCD albatross + friends


A topnotch WordPress.com site

Blood On Borrowed Wings

I write, I love, I run, I play, I break things.


In the Groove...

Interno Poesia

Blog e progetto editoriale di poesia

Poesy plus Polemics

Words of Wonder, Worry and Whimsy

Lasciatemi Pensare.

se non sarò serena, mi rasserenerò

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Vonj Productions

Bringing you love through spirit!

A Mirror Obscura,

Poetry, musings and sightings from where the country changes

Zenobia Frost

Writer and editor

Aisha's Oasis

A peaceful place to relax while on my wild joyride to Egypt from South Carolina.

The Perfect Nose

Sewing, illustration and design.


Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get. And I Get a Lot of Chances (Copyright Preserved)

%d bloggers like this: