writing reflection – sestina to winter

I was recently set a uni assignment which involved constructing a strict form poem and writing a reflective essay about my progress in drafting my piece. This was really useful as it made me think more about the process of writing. I rarely rework what I write, and usually content myself with my first draft, but creating multiple drafts of my poem made me consider how my language and imagery could be developed to be made more effective. Below is the final draft of my poem, in the Sestina form:

 

Sestina to Winter

 

With death’s farewell leaves slumber on the ground,

hands held like friends of nature – loved and lost.

Like layered gravestones in a churchyard sleep,

they caught within their veins the dying sun

and, decked in green, they smiled till summer’s end

now restless sleep blows them across the earth.

 

In summers gone, naive, I held the earth

in my belief that this was solid ground,

my faith that growth in trees would never end

and in my dreams of futures never lost.

But now I dream upon a setting sun

and realise that the world is soon to sleep.

 

It will not be in peace, but raging sleep,

the curtains closed against a storm of earth,

the weeping face of clouded, rain-washed sun

and bitter fall of rain tears on the ground.

Colours of the world paint what we’ve lost

on canvas in the patterns of the end.

 

If we could only see through winter’s end,

endure beyond the hoar-frost’s clock of sleep,

regain the life that through the snow we lost.

Perhaps, and only then, this weary earth

would seem more than a stretch of empty land,

Bring  life again in blessings of the sun.

 

A lonely pilgrim, Winter worships Sun,

her prayers cry out that this is not the end –

we are much more than martyrs of this land,

content to humbly fall to death’s cruel sleep.

There’s more to find than pain in winter earth,

And more than futile tears for what is lost.

 

Perhaps someday our lives will not be lost,

when beauty reigns despite the absent sun,

and we’re content to walk this breadth of earth

in search of landscapes rich and without end.

We’ll wake with joy when we are told to sleep

to cherish and to heal this barren land.

 

And then the earth will have no mortal end,

and though we’re lost, we’ll watch a glowing sun

rise from its sleep, live to rebuild this land.

 

 

Photo by Seyedeh Hamideh Kazemi on Unsplash

 

solitude – journal entry

During my first few weeks at university, I have had so many things to do and think about, and I’m happy to have had the chance to channel this into writing. As part of my homework for my course, I was asked to begin writing a daily journal. I’ve found this really fun, and beneficial in that it makes me write something every day. Below I’ve shared one of my journal entries 🙂

1/10/19  9:00pm

The hum of traffic fills my ears. My brain is tired of processing and filtering all of the information from the day. People rush past, and I need to be on my way, but just for a moment I stand there. Still.

Everything continues around me. Traffic and people hurtle past, all on their way to somewhere, part of a story into which I can gain only a glimpse. It feels wrong to stand here doing nothing in such a busy world. Even though it’s getting dark the city still feels so alive. Lights illuminate everything, blurring the distinction between night and day, and I wonder if this place ever sleeps. I look up to the sky – the colour of my mistakes, my grief streaked in a clouded white stripe along the horizon. But this is not the place for regret.

It seems like history has outlined itself in the silhouetted shadows of every building around me. In every brick, every corner, every face of each person passing, I am reminded of things that were, things that are, things that could have been. Everything has played a part in bringing me to now. Here, in the grimy puddles at the edge of the roadside, I am reminded that I have a choice. For once in my life I don’t turn in uncertainty to glance at who stands beside me at the kerb. I no longer think with impending doom that here, with my toes inches from the tyres grinding against the road, I am one step from my fate.

I can choose to move when I want to, to cross when I’m ready. I cannot be beckoned by someone on the other side, nor pushed by someone behind me. That’s the beauty of being alone. This is not loneliness any longer, but the freedom to be solitary and be content with it.