"Monks in a Cellar" by Joseph Haier‘Reprobate’s Prayer Sestina’ by Mike Bryant The Society July 6, 2019 Beauty, Culture, Humor, Poetry, Poetry Forms 13 Comments I lift my eyes and pray to God above, deliver me, dear Lord, from Satan’s Hell. I come to You with heart brimful of Love, content to drink life’s water from Your well. And if, by chance, I do not measure up, perhaps a drop of mercy from Your cup. Or maybe I’ll pursue the loving cup and seek earth’s pleasures not those from above. The quest of flesh is always looking up and heaven’s to be found in sight of Hell. Don’t seek perfection when you can do well. I’m perfectly content to live on Love. And, even though I am sustained by Love, I see beside my plate an empty cup. I’ll have some wine then go back to the well and toast the near departed up above. As, merrily, I make life less a Hell by never feeling down, just drinking up. White wine with fish or red with beef sauced up. For haute cuisine’s a special kind of Love. The French know food can soothe a burning Hell. Their balm is butter, gallons, not a cup. And if gastronomy is spurned above, my Gallic gut shall even still eat well. The best vindictiveness is living well, but vengeance hardly ever evens up. I’d rather laugh and joke and stay above the pitfalls and the hard attacks of Love. Somehow sadness lives within my cup, overfilled in Heaven or in Hell. I think God knows that I am bound for Hell, but no one really knows another well. Everything I’ve learned fits in a cup. I hope appreciation lifts me up because all God’s creations I do Love and know good things descend from God above. My palms now form a cup I raise above to show a life lived well and full of Love. Lord, get the keys of Hell and lock it up. Mike Bryant is a poet and retired plumber living on the Gulf Coast of Texas. 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) 13 Responses Susan Jarvis Bryant July 6, 2019 A Sestina is a challenging form to take on. To add rhyme, philosophy and a pinch of humor into the mix is admirable – a privilege to read. Reply Mike Bryant July 6, 2019 Thank You… I wonder if you remember who set the challenge of constructing a sestina in iambic pentameter. Reply C.B. Anderson July 6, 2019 Both of the above comments on the form are telling. For the first, I think that adding rhyme is a good idea, for otherwise sestinas tend to drag along in a rather boring way. It’s interesting how the rhymes get rearranged in every stanza, and the few that I have written always include rhyme. For the second, I would never think of writing a sestina that wasn’t metrical. To make a sestina even more interesting, consider using homonyms and homophones for the words at the end of each line. Most of the sestinas I’ve read are fairly tedious, but this one did not put me to sleep. You, Mike, have plumbed the far reaches of the pipes that deliver the water of life. Reply Mike Bryant July 6, 2019 Thank you C. B. High praise indeed. It was my wife, Susan, of course, who suggested that I try the iambic pentameter with this difficult form. I decide on the six words. It was a challenge that I really enjoyed. Reply James A. Tweedie July 6, 2019 This put a new twist to the phrase, “In the (his) cups,” but with a more satisfying conclusion! Reply Mike Bryant July 6, 2019 James, well spotted! I appreciate your astute observation. Thanks! Reply David Watt July 7, 2019 Mike, this piece demonstrates a mastery of the sestina form, far above that of a journeyman. Reply Mike Bryant July 7, 2019 David, thank you. It’s interesting that you’ve used the words “journeyman” and “mastery”, since I did exceed journeyman status in my chosen trade, and I am a Master Plumber. Reply David Watt July 8, 2019 Mike, my analogy was based on the assumption that you had indeed followed the path from journeyman to Master Plumber. I look forward to reading more of your work. Mike Bryant July 7, 2019 Huh??? Reply Monty July 8, 2019 Not that it’ll render it any more decipherable; but it’d seem that the final word in the above esoterica should’ve read “wandered”. Reply Mike Bryant July 7, 2019 You’re laughable… a satan wannabe, no doubt… tell your mother she’s calling you. Reply Mike Bryant July 8, 2019 David Watt, I should have known that! Thanks again. 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