Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sorting Through the Roses

Sorting Through the Roses
A Sestina
By Anita Firebaugh

Leaves sway as winds blow the grass. 
Your flower bed dances with roses.
Buds fill the arbor, ache to bloom.
Showers of brightness move in the sun.
Aphrodite's roses raised in the sea
cannot match the grandeur of your garden. 

A circus of colors parades in your garden.
Highlighted, accented by alfalfa grass,
white, yellow, red waves rippling like the sea.
Misplaced carnations masquerade as pink roses,
fade against climbers reaching for sun.
Your summer rainbow, ready to bloom. 

You stand among roses watching them bloom.
With scissors you take a bouquet from your garden.
White Knights burst forth, iridescent in sun.
Crimson Glories--elegant, above the grass.
You smell the fragrance of musky roses--
down by the fence grow buds you can't see. 

But like Aphrodite who sprang from the sea
you lose your Adonis in summertime's blooms.
Yet the King's Ransom could not buy your roses--
Paradise is tangled, alive in your garden.
Your feet feel the earth, sympathize with the grass.
The Crown of your head tries to draw in the sun. 

You brush against bushes as you walk in the sun.
Thorns prick at your clothing.  Still you can't see
First Love flowering low in the grasses
or the sulky black roses waiting to bloom.
Orange and red blossoms overtake the garden.
They overwhelm when you stand in the roses. 

You cut only the best of the roses,
trim every stem, take the buds from the sun,
examine the leaves of each bush in your garden,
pull Aphrodite from the foam of the sea.
Scissors snip, you catch the best bloom.
You lay all your prizes in line on the grass. 

When the sun leaves your garden, you ache for the grass.
Each summer you ride on the wave of the bloom.
The roses return, like the foam of the sea.
You know the best rose grows here in your garden.
You stand back, watch the buds dance in sun
You have gathered your bouquet of roses.


A sestina is a structured poem. The last word of each line of the first stanza is repeated throughout, but rotated in a set pattern.

My sestina is a little off in that the last verse of six lines should really be a verse of three lines. So this is not a true sestina; it is a variation of the form.

The structure of the lines is this:

7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

Additionally, in a true sestina, the last three lines will have the words from BDF within the final three lines so that all the words appear in the ending.

This is not a new poem; I wrote it several years ago and ran across it the other day. For those who may not know, many of the words used in this poem are actually the names of roses - Adonis, Aphrodite, King's Ransom, White Knights. I chose the names because they also evoke other images.

I have always loved form poetry and may have to try my hand at it again.


  1. It's lovely, and I had never heard of a sestina. And when may we expect your book of poetry!

    1. Thank you, Di. As for the book of poetry - well, who knows. Don't hold your breath!


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!