Tanka and Sestina

That title sounds like an intriguing police drama, with powerful acting from an ensemble cast to rival Orange is the New Black!

Alas, I am pitching a new TV show just yet. I have spent some time this afternoon pottering about my note books, trying to think new thoughts.

One of the strategies I use to get my creativity flowing is to try new forms (some of those experiments end up in this very blog!). Today I am uploading two poems…well worth your visit! The first offering is a tanka, a Japanese style that consist of 31 syllables over 5 lines. For more information check out: https://poets.org/glossary/tanka

The second poem today, which I feel is on more shaky ground, is the sestina. I found it hard to keep a cohesive narrative whilst adhering to the rules (the end words of each line are used repetitively in a specific sequence). The last stanza of 3 lines should contain all six words. The full ‘recipe’ is here: https://poets.org/glossary/sestina

So here goes, firstly the tanka.

Happiness
The time we first met
I felt the sun shine on me.
The second time too! 
How could I have known that 
Such happiness would go on.

And now for the sestina….

Cigarettes, a brief autobiographical account
I clearly remember that last cigarette:
The way my lungs expanded.
I let go of any attachment, any care,
As the last line of smoke trailed away
Becoming just a wisp of a memory.
And that was the last time.
I am not sure about the first time 
I was passed any already lit cigarette.
The details have faded from memory.
I recall being eager to see my world expanded.
So I packed my things and moved away 
Beyond the reach of parental control and care.
Living bullet proof, without a care
I had youth and plenty of time.
A couple of beers and we were away-
Watching sunsets, reaching for a cigarette.
University years - a young mind expanded
(Some hard lessons burnt into my memory).

And then things changed, from memory,
When first came adult stress and care,
Then responsibility and accountability expanded:
Clock watching, doing battle with time,
Burning out like a forgotten cigarette.
I became jaded, my dreams wafted away.

I didn't think I could give it away,
Too much water under the bridge and memory
With my one constant companion - my cigarette.
Future health, what did I care?
I needed something in that moment of time
To fill my lungs, to feel expanded.

But then fear arrived and it expanded
New thoughts I could not push away,
And for once I could be on borrowed time.
I wasn't ready to become just a memory.
All the wasted days, weighed down with care,
The last thing I needed was to crave a cigarette.

That short story expanded from a memory.
Now my life is far away and what do I care
Of the time I smoked my last cigarette.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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