Oulipost #19: SESTINA

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April 19, 2014

 

The Prompt: This will be one of your most challenging Oulipost prompts! A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text.



 

Consequences of Hope

 

Give us this day,

this year, or just this minute—

our shifting need.

Still, we harvest one

second after another, working for a state

of hope.

 

If someone needs hope

to imagine existing for another day,

their mind in a haunted state,

the truth is: every problem, no matter how minute,

is chaos. An ugly mess. One

primary need.

 

It’s an intrusion, that need.

As simple as that. And hope,

scratched and pitted as it may be, gives one

a reason to speak out: Today,

as much as possible, I will stand, take a minute

to shift towards a new state.

 

In every region, every state,

every community, every person has needs—

woman or man, children or lawmakers. Each minute,

among classrooms, hospitals and nursing homes, hope

is there, a mysterious potential: You have this day,

it says, I’m pretty sure it could be a great one.

 

Buildings are erected one by one

over time, whatever the weather’s state—

it takes more than a day

and so it can go with the need

to replace defeat with hope.

Just give it a minute.

 

Each one is an event, the minutes

we spend organizing fun or getting over one

condemnation. I’m not sure if church gives hope,

or some darker, messier state

of falling for rules, failing to see needs

met. Critics say they never reimbursed a single day.

 

The owner of each day

is you, dealing with each private need,

each public matter, and consequences of hope.

 

Sources:

AP. “Chester launches school construction effort.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 19 April 2014.

AP. “Illinois Democrats plan organizational meeting.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 19 April 2014.

Staff. “Vanderburgh County Restaurant Inspections.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 19 April 2014.

Schneider, Chelsea. “Limit on nursing home development still needed, say supporters of failed legislation.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 19 April 2014.

Vaughn, James. “Annual Nut Club egg hunt rolls in Easter.”courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 19 April 2014.

Wells, Len. “Real eggs don’t have candy in them.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 19 April 2014.

 

Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.

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