The Circle Dream: A Sestina

The lady whose whole body glowed like a lantern
gave sight to my blind friend in a prophetic dream
I had, when I still thought nothing about sorrow.
The lady’s wisdom covered the tent walls with stars
that shined so bright, my friend saw their shadows in
his head and, fearing God, blinded himself again.

I sung joy, whispered prayers, again and again
till they called me the bard who with words made lanterns
glow. Surrounded by people, I sang, until in
a fit of despair, I conveyed the vicious dream,
like a murder of crows, from my throat. Under the stars
that night, there was no sleep at all, only sorrow.

On the road, I was the bard who healed with sorrow
so deep, the dead wept remembering life again;
their singular passions wasted among the stars.
My own soul flittered; a moth trapped in a lantern,
the heat scorching new visions of the deadly dream.
In one, I lit the lamp that drew the demons in,

in another, I was the rocks my friend drove in-
-to his skull, his head shattering bloody sorrow
splinters, crystalline fracture pulsing liquid dreams.
Late yesterday, I sang in an old town again.
The wise lady was there, glowing like a lantern,
her gaze pulling at me, as I pulled at the stars.

Later, when I searched for my own dream in the stars
only finding earthen dust – she approached me in
silence, sidling up to my guitar – her lantern
a pale shape – plucking just a single note, sorrow.
The night flooded, warm breeze stirring my kiln again
so I couldn’t stop burning when she asked for my dream.

My dream, I demanded, was it also her dream?
Do we look like stars to the expanse past the stars?
Will I be able to count those damned stars again?
She said, can it be that you were the dimmed one in
a poet’s dream – a poor bard so crazed with sorrow
he blinded himself staring into my lantern?

Blinking at her lantern, I remember no dream…
…just the tent walls with stars, God, nothing but sorrow
fills me, in, an instant my eyes will close again.

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4 Responses to The Circle Dream: A Sestina

  1. You’re amazing! I have to reread this about a dozen more times.

  2. Courtney Ray says:

    Just love this!!!

  3. Jaime says:

    I remember Cristina and her sestinas in Grasmere. One day I must sit and have the patience to devise one.

    Was this an exercise, or do this lady and friend exist?

  4. Oleg K. says:

    It was an exercise in imagination ;O)

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