My first ever sestina

Atlantis 1

And at the end our towers were not as high
As the new seas that rushed in on the land
Towers we thought high enough. That stood in pride
but folly was their name, in folly drowned
And at the end we danced, dance was despair
But still was beauty right up to the end

We did some deeds of grace right at the end
Freed slaves who drowned as equals, climbed as high1
And danced with kings and queens the same despair
Not just our house slaves, those who worked the land
And former slave and free on towers drowned
And held hands at the last, in equal pride

But in our glory days we knew such pride
A pride that stayed with us until the end
As comfort. Some were humble.They still drowned
It did not save them, and they met their end
Along with towers, and cities and the land
The humble with the proud all met despair

There is an honesty in deep despair
As honest as humility or pride
We saw the waters over-run the land
And knew that we would dance before the end
dance on the highest towers. The sea rose high
And as we danced, we stumbled and we drowned

We lived in beauty, but when we all drowned
there was no beauty in our last despair
Some deeds of grace. Parents held children high
above their heads. There was a sort of pride
that chose to drown and try still at the end
to act in death the honour the land

The children drowned and all forget our land
though there are tales of some lost land that drowned
That other lands remember at their end
And use our tale to comfort their despair
And dance like us, like us retain their pride
Even as blood or water rise so high

Their last sight of the land before the end
The blood and water high in which we drowned
Like us they share despair, but dance in pride


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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4 Responses to My first ever sestina

  1. movingfinger says:

    I love your poems. Thank you for posting them.

  2. deliasherman says:

    Wow. I’m very impressed. If it’s hard to write a sestina, it’s even harder to write one that’s genuinely moving. You are the Queen of Formal Poetry, my dear.

  3. That’s lovely. Thank you.

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