It’s poetry time again, which pretty much translates to spot-the-reference time. This was written for a writing contest in the summer of 2010, and was my first sestina ever. I think it was the first time I thought of form poetry as akin to Scrabble: you have a set of parameters and a set of tools, and you put together the tools you have according to the parameters, individuality dictating that everyone puts them together differently.

I cheated a bit – ‘this’ is quite simple, and I used ‘more’ once instead of ‘oar’ and ‘see’ once instead of ‘sea.’ The part I’m quite proud of, though, is my use of ‘amber’: it means three different things at different places in the poem. I felt quite smug in that, even though only one of the judges caught the reference to Roger Zelazny’s fantasy realm, and wasn’t entirely sure that it was a reference I’d meant to make.

The metaphor about escape to a more enlightened/licentious place is semi-coherent at best, except for the first stanza, where we have some requisite rejection of Catholicism in favour of Druidic tradition. In the fifth stanza that gets rejected, too, because what’s a traditional poetry form without explicit rejection of most forms of tradition?

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