“Night: Seaport by Moonlight,” 1771, by Joseph Vernet ‘Sestina of Night’ by Karen Melander Magoon The Society April 21, 2018 Beauty, Poetry, Poetry Forms 4 Comments The lamp holds sway along the shadowed streets A penumbra encircles its sweet shine As night rests softly like a feathered cloak Upon a multitude of dancing stars And night and stars and lamp become a song A story writ in music’s measured bars The lamp’s penumbra swings on shadowed bars Reflecting steel hung windows in the streets A lunar globe joins in the star flung song A haunting melody of heaven’s shine Embracing all the world with diamond stars Bejeweling the velvet nighttime cloak And through the sensuous velvet of the cloak Spin rays of universal singing bars Embracing rapturously the mighty stars Journeying light years to my own streets Where I seek consolation in their shine And constellations rapt in starry song As through the streets of grace there comes a song Enrapturing the world wrapped in night’s cloak And spinning madly in its swirling shine Commanding us to step to rhythmic bars And dance as one through all the city streets Embracing in the moonlight and the stars One moon transcends the night and all its stars Your countenance becomes my own sweet song Your eyes wash blue upon the sparkling streets Your hands touch mine beneath a velvet cloak And feathered softness modulates the bars Of music and of memory’s bright shine As through the muted starlight’s silken shine The moon descends to dance among the stars Her grace beneath the velvet golden bars Of radiant light and feathered muffled song Transposes even evening in her cloak As dawn breaks suddenly upon the streets Her brilliance glorifies another song And music folds away night’s feathered cloak As we embrace upon our golden streets Karen Melander Magoon resides in San Francisco; she spent nearly twenty years singing opera in Germany and Austria, returned home to the USA where she wrote and performed three musical portraits of famous women–Lillie Langtry, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Clara Barton, and is hoping to perform a fourth on Colette. She has written poetry since she was in pre-school, her first prize being a pen and a dollar from a local newspaper. She has been published in Peoples Tribune, Street Sheet, A Feather Floating on the Water (Anthology edited by Virginia Barrett); About Place Journal (A Boy Killed) Quill and Parchment (Winter Scene, Jan 2016), Overthrowing Capitalism, anthology volumes 2014 and 2015, 2016’ 2017; Homeward Magazine (Sacramento). Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 4 Responses Sathyanarayana April 21, 2018 In my view sestina is the toughest of all poetic forms. I am rather scared at its rhyme scheme. This poem has great imagery and wonderful wordplay. In my view it’s very difficult to be a lyricist than a poet. A lyricist knows how to sync the words with tunes and hence their poetry is of much higher order and sweeter it tastes with underlying musical notes playing smooth with the words. Kudos Madam for this great piece of lyrical poetry. Reply C.B. Anderson April 21, 2018 Actually, most sestinas don’t really rhyme — it’s simply a matter of repeated words. But, yes, the pattern is rather complicated. One may, however, write a first stanza consisting of, say, rhyming couplets. Then the overarching pattern creates ensuing stanzas that rhyme in an interesting variety of ways. Also, to make things & easier, and perhaps more interesting, instead of repeating the exact same word, homonyms or homonymous word segments can be used: e.g. pail/pale & leaf/belief & extent/content &tc. Reply E. V. "Beth" Wyler April 21, 2018 I enjoyed reading this poem. You’re very talented. E. V. Reply James Sale April 30, 2018 I agree with Sathyanarayana in that the sestina is a tough form to crack and I certainly never have! And CB Anderson makes some great points too. So this is a really good poem – well done. Reply Leave a Reply to James Sale Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.