Form Challenges #11
SIX LINE POETRY FORMS


Introduction

In his Book of Forms, Lewis Turco lists over a dozen types of Sestets or six line poetry forms. Several of them are well known to sonnet writers and are considered by most simply to be the turn or shift in argument of a sonnet, but very few poets have ever thought of these forms as a poetry forms in themselves.
The Welsh and Irish have several examples of six line poetry as aficionados will quickly attest and there are also several Oriental forms as well. Again most poets do not consider these forms when experimenting with writing other forms.
The purpose of this challenge is to introduce poets to these forms and in taking up this challenge expand their awareness and enjoyment of poetry.

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Sestet Challenge....Contents

Rime Couée

Slide Show...............Leny Roovers
A Pair......................Teagan
Follow Me...............Teagan

Standard Habbie

Drifter......................Michael Dixon

Short Particular Measure

On six-line Poetry....Leny Roovers

Couplets

Days Pass By...........Etain Druantia

Stave Stanza

The Night Is Dark....Teagan

Envelope Couplet

Tomorrow..................Teagan

Italian Sestet

Clay of Life...............Teagan
Sharing Lives............Teagan

Sicilian Sestet

Soul Mates................Teagan
Welcome....................Teagan

Spanish Sestet

Flamenco...................Leny Roovers

Wordsworth Sestet

Spring Enduring
Beauty and the Beast


Rime Couée

Slide show

With spotlights on, the show begins:
on a blank screen a circle grins
a big smile of surprise;
then sudden cries of violins
shout down the noise of motor spins-
while coloured slides catch eyes.

As lakes and mountains fade from sight,
a setting sun pours golden light
on faces in the room;
a short, dry click, the timing's right,
the show goes on, the smiles are bright;
on screen the flowers bloom.

Infectious yawning tears the veil;
it breaks the spell and faces pale
with curtains now drawn wide.
Projector hums with a soft wail.
The watchers stretch- an end to tales;
eyes mirror the last slide.

Leny Roovers

-----

A Pair

WE are indeed a pair my lover,
Bound by our love for each other.
By silken threads and words
And ties that in no way bother
Tied yet free we do not smother
Bound by love, free as birds.

Teagan

-----

Follow Me

FOLLOW me to a place of dreams
Of life and love and silver streams
Follow me, feel again.
There is no need of fancy schemes
Love is all and within our means
Open up, and feel again.

To learn to love, you learn to cry
Madness exists if you don't try.
Open up my love, feel free.
Without love any soul will die
With love it is an open sky
Feel again, and follow me.

Teagan

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Standard Habbie

Drifter

Under freeway lights so sedate
A drifter walks a path not straight
Just ahead heavy with no weight
The form of a shadow
Full and complete with all the traits
Of old times long ago

With cash in hand the way is paid
Many motels and nights are stayed
The law in tail one must evade
The past not far behind
In an old life he was betrayed
Echo's voice to remind

Thumbing a ride people fly past
Safely in their cars driving fast
Middle of nowhere quiet at last
The shelter of the dark
His life to now such a contrast
Inner thoughts do remark

A trucker stops his only friend
With small chit chat do they pretend
The fare is talk he need not spend
What's left of his bank roll
When he gets out his hand extends
Thanking for a cheap toll

From town to town the stranger goes
In musty bars does he suppose
A life once known in dreams he doze
Disappear with each day
He wakes and gathers to compose
Leaves a fiver to pay

Wanders through a deserted town
The midday sun tickles his frown
People that watch him walk around
Put calls into the law
He knows his time is running down
Rubbing his stubbled jaw

Hasn't showered for a few days
Hoping perhaps here he could stay
Peoples fear pushing him away
Not so much as good bye
Upon their children he might prey
In county pen he'd die

The drifter looks upon the rise
Turning his back from all the lies
Tiredness visible in his eyes
Yet their kept tightly closed
For those that see through his disguise
Could have his past exposed

He came home one day after work
Flowers he carried with a smirk
To apologise for being a jerk
Opening door to moans
He broke the man and went berserk
Falling down with a groan

He had then scrambled to his feet
Hung his head low and in defeat
Stumbled outside into the street
Over her foolish fling
Victim to ultimate deceit
To live a life drifting

Michael Dixon

-----

Coupler

Her sloping shoulders burnished brown;
her slender neck shows tender down
and on her narrow face a frown-
She pulls a string.
On luscious hips a polished gown:
A violin.

A brazen yellow mirrors all,
his body is well-shaped and tall-
inviting, sounds his every call
on golden tracks.
A haunting song, send to enthrall:
the tenor-sax.

Leny Roovers

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Short Particular Measure

On six-line Poetry

To write a six line verse
turns quickly in a curse;
A Rime Couée is not too bad,
the Standard Habbie worse;
the need to keep lines terse
in Stave and Sestet drives me mad.

The Hir a Thoddaid's rhyme
flows sullenly as slime;
while Cywydd Llosgyrnog runs on,
a Clogyrnach sublime
is born on sweet Welsh thyme-
Gwawdodyn hir a paragon.

The sestets are diverse,
Italians perverse!
Heroic or Sicilian,
Sextillas in blank verse.
In my poetic purse
are still three forms, they're Gordian..

As Turco mentioned these,
they are the last I seize:
The Couplette Envelope's pleasure-
it should be wrought with ease;
at last the final tease:
A Short Particular Measure.

Leny Roovers

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Couplets

Days Pass By

I fear to laugh and so to weep
The scars I wear are old and deep
Live on I must, at least to try
I do my best as days pass by.
Fate treats me ill, she is not kind
Promised me once then changed her mind

We loved, he left then came once more
Impatient, wait for rap on door
Too weary for another test
I swallow sleep's eternal rest
My love my love my love I sigh
Into death's mist and days pass by.

Etain Druantia

-----

Today

Today is here for us to live
and of ourselves to fully give
yet so many days we let flee
into the void of memory
days gone past we cannot relive
today is here for us to live

Etain Druantia

-----

Hope (Heroic Couplets)

Through closing doors echoes a silent scream
of missed tomorrows and regrets foretold;
it trembles in my ear, I feel its cold.
On steam-blurred panes I trace a narrow seam,
as tears drop slowly from the path I drew-
on this dark road a flower never grew.

A barren world, where yesterdays lost sound
and crumbles of today are blown away,
like grains of sand flow through the hourglass.
As falling tears form rivulets in ground,
deep furrows are wiped out and filled with clay.
Here hope is sown with seeds of sweet green grass.

Leny Roovers

-----

= Question

WHERE are we going? I know not,
nor do I know why.
All I need are signals to guide me,
so that each time I try
To take that step one further,
I will not hear you cry.

Teagan

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Stave Stanza

The Night Is Dark

THE night is dark and you're alone.
In fear you hear the night beasts moan
See the shadows move on the wall
Spine chilling as the white wolves call
In fear you cringe as beasties groan
The night is dark and you're alone.

The night is dark and you're alone.
Too late now courage is overthrown
And evil wagers for your soul
His creatures waiting for his call
With slavering jaws that can crush bone
The night is dark and you're alone.

The night is dark and you're alone.
In terror you reach for the phone
The phone is dead the line is down
Isolated from any town
You are reaping what you have sown
The night is dark and you're alone.

Teagan

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Envelope Couplet

Tomorrow

TOMORROW is another day
do not think that you can lay
in ease and wait the sun's caress
whilst it heralds morn and dress
the dawn with hued colour play
tomorrow is another day.

Tomorrow is another day
the gentle winds of morn makes sway
and autumn breezes scent the air
playing with the walkers hair
if time froze would we wish to stay
tomorrow is another day.

Tomorrow is another day
and with evening its time for play
and talk of love and better things
then to sleep see what morning brings
the lights go out and shadows stay

tomorrow is another day.

Teagan

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Italian Sestet

Koko

She is a lady with green jewelled eyes,
a sleek fur coat enhances her trim form-
it's dappled grey on cream, with matching boots;
her dainty feet are of the smallest size.
The hat she wears is pointed, cute and warm;
an elegant and charming choice of suits.

But when she starts to talk, it changes all-
with piercing cry she will demand her share
of either food, attention or caress.
A lady from Siam, you might recall,
is blessed with one demanding voice and stare.
It's best then to comply, prevent distress.

Obedience is welcomed and repaid,
as soon she shows a different side of her;
decorum put aside she wants to play:
she gently bites in hands- you can't evade-
inviting you to stroke her satin fur.
She's purring loudly now, a love essay.

Leny Roovers

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Thoughts on War

On desert sand the armies lie and wait;
at sea a fleet of carriers draws near,
as in the sky fly silver birds of prey.
The net is drawing close, so near the date
the shock will fill the land with war and fear;
an end has come to peacefulness and play.

Approaching Spring has lost her zest for life,
as men in tanks and bombers come to fight;
the earth now holds her breath in silent ache-
a soldier dreams of laughter and his wife.
The sky is overcast, it hides the light.
The freedom of the world, is it at stake?

Or is it once again a power game,
with money at its roots and oil the prize
of bodies died too young, returned in bags,
with only men in offices to blame?
I wonder if this war is just disguise
for other motives than sweet Freedom's flag.

Leny Roovers

-----

Clay of Life

THROW on the clay and watch it spin
Understand life is just like that clay
You shape your life you must realise
You shape it see the form begin
How you must treat each single day
Treat it as your last when you arise.

Teagan

-----

Sharing Lives

WE share brief moments in time
we broke bread and drank wine
then parted for just a little while.
Towards Eternity we slowly climb
each life each stage your hand in mine
the journey sweetened by your smile.

Teagan

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Sicilian Sestet

Soul Mates

Loving, sleeping sharing life's rich plate
You and I are together as we should be.
Dream time together our senses sate
In the halls of waiting you and me
In spite of distance, you are my mate
Spending forever together in eternity.

Teagan

-----


Welcome

The chink of cold glasses in meeting
carried low on the air in a toast to you.
Drink deep in a welcome greeting.
The wishes captured in simple gestures
Smiling eyes that say everything
Yet in the crowd convey only pleasure

Teagan

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Spanish Sestet

Flamenco

Her hair piled high, on top a comb
from which a veil as a black foam
flows down white shoulders, soft as pearl;
her dress is red, her heels are high,
the music's sad, the guitars cry-
the dance begins, her skirts unfurl.

Her feet are moving fast, she sways
in rhythm with each soulful phrase
the players wrest now from the strings;
and in her hands, the castanets
speak words of love and of regrets -
the dance goes on, the music sings.

Her body glistens from the heat,
her feet are moving with the beat
of strings that sing and gently moan;
the speed increases, players bend,
they are united, voices blend -
the dance then ends, a final tone.

Leny Roovers

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Wordsworth Sestet

ten

I fear to laugh and so to weep
The scars I wear are old and deep
Live on I must, at least to try
I do my best as days pass by.
Fate treats me ill, she is not kind
Promised me once then changed her mind

We loved, he left then came once more
Impatient, wait for rap on door
Too weary for another test
I swallow sleep's eternal rest
My love my love my love I sigh
Into death's mist and days pass by.

Etain Druantia

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