Almost well

The clock strikes twelve and all is almost well
I’m close to warm with pillows to console
me, as I lay here thinking of what once was dear
the vows, the words before the jabs and wound.
The night is dark and in the silence beats
my heart, and all is almost well, it’s fair

to say, I’m yet not cured, from flowing fair-
ness of your hair, your breath I used to know so well
beside before bereft to these, my broken beats.
these knells of night, that never can console
my bleeding heart, my burning wound
why did our travel cease too soon. Oh dear.

do you still recall in sabred words, how dear
it was to share it all, to do what’s just and fair
and how you had me tightly wrapped and wound,
tamed around your pleasant will, before the well
was filled, before we smashed our destiny’s console.
Before we bathed in somber march-drum-beats

of war I slumbered in you arms on heartbeat
lullabies and you claimed me to be dear
to you, a fearless lover, loving to console
with cotton candy dreams; and there our bed was fair
in dappled sheen and our life was close to well.
Before your tongue had cut this blistered wound.

Do you recall how our star-ships went and wound
mechanics, galaxies, mended light to gentle beats.
We sailed on symphonies we dwelled too well
in dust of stars our fears were few and dear
when somewhere on a comet’s tail there was a fair
for weary travelers like us to rest, console

our homesickness, re-program ship’s console
to fix the sails, and heal our gangrened wounds.
After all this time, how was it even fair
when your decided it was time to split? “I’m beat”
you said, “Let’s just be friends my dear”
You left me for an alien djinn and wished me well.

The air is bright and fair the lights, A clock beats
one, no message on my console yet; I pick my wounds;
without you, my dear, there’s nothing really well.

Night by Mikalojus Ciurlionis

Night by Mikalojus Ciurlionis

Today it’s Open Link Night at dVerse, and I’m hosting. Bring any poem one poem to the pub. Join the fun at the bar and read some great poetry. We open the doors at 3PM EST

This is a sestina I wrote because Victoria challenged me to write one. I still think Sestinas are hard to write (and maybe read too). At least I tried to write it as a Science Fiction story.
February 18, 2015

47 responses to “Almost well

  1. Taunted? Isn’t that a bit strong? As I read it it flowed so smoothly, whereas it’s so often that a sestina comes across as forced. Not only that, you tell a story. Bravo. Mine is scheduled for later tonight (my time).

  2. This flowed so well that I had no clue it was a sestina until you told us. Nice sci-fi/lost love story here! Perhaps one day I’ll muster up the courage to try my hand at this form…(actually, I did write one once, but it was so horrid that it never saw the “publish” button).

  3. Really excellent, Bjorn! I really admire the time and amount of thought involved in being able to pull this off so very well!

  4. You know how much I love a poem that tells a story. And this one, I adore. I feel for the speaker, for his pain, for how it is almost obvious that the relationship is lost, but he continues to wait, to hurt…

    The tone is heartbreaking, and the last line made me close my eyes and sigh.

  5. Excellent Sestina — even notice the repetition of the ending words, and yet I did. At any rate, I loved the idea that it’s “almost well” but yet it’s not well at all. This reminded me of a Dwight Yoakam song titled “It’s Never Alright,” which includes the lyrics: “They say it gets better / Oh I guess it might. / But even when it’s better, it’s never alright.” Your poem has that same flavor of even if things get better with the loved one gone, it’s never really alright. Peace, Linda

  6. I’ve written a few of these monsters. 🙂 You did an excellent job with your sci-fi story, Bjorn. And your repeating words are barely noticed as you read through, it flows beautifully. Yes, things are only “almost well” when you lose someone that had once been so close.

  7. I can’t believe some of you folks can do this. It blows my mind. It’s all in choosing smart end-words that have varying meanings and pronunciations. Really nice job. These are my favorite sections:
    “The night is dark and in the silence beats my heart”
    “I’m yet not cured, from flowing fair-ness of your hair, your breath I used to know so well”
    “and how you had me tightly wrapped and wound, tamed around your pleasant will, before the well was filled”
    “Before we bathed in somber march-drum-beats of war I slumbered in you arms on heartbeat lullabies and you claimed me”
    “You left me for an alien djinn” (ha; this made me laugh)
    “A clock beats one”

  8. “I’m yet not cured, from flowing fair-ness of your hair, your breath I used to know so well”

    It is just fantastic, Bjorn! It certainly is a difficult form, Never tried it yet. It takes a lot of thinking on this one. The attraction is the underlying story that gets one focused despite being long. Here, it tugs at the pain evident throughout! The sense of regret lamenting on the good times before. Great!


  9. I love the challenge of sestinas and villanelles 🙂 and this one was so good. Excellent use of end words. Seamless. Really well done, Bjorn. Maybe we could have a dverse prompt sometime sestina/villanelle.

  10. Each stanza is well done with the rhyming pattern Bjorn ~ Its hard to be cured from those sabred words & the longing is intense ~ A beautiful sestina & well worth reading again & again ~

  11. You brought us right into that room with you. So genuine, so warm, like we all lay on our backs and listened to you tell the story, both sad and warm. “not yet cured…” but with hope yet

  12. Gorgeous and moving and yes, difficult to write. Especially when you choose “console” as one of your ending words, wow, that’s extra bonus points!

  13. And this is why you hold the keys to the pub, sir!
    I really like “Before we bathed in somber march-drum-beats
    of war I slumbered in you arms on heartbeat lullabies”

  14. Its like a story, rhythmic, touching and the well thought out lines give much to imagination too…..

  15. This is an amazing write! When you have the ability to make a reader fell every word, that’s incredible talent. I have not forgotten, in spite of my memory, that I would love to re-blog a post of yours. May I try this one?

  16. A sestina! A challenge indeed! You do it with all the seams stitched perfectly so the narrative flows beautifully. I badly stitched two frankenpoem sestina attempts in the past, choosing end words like encomia, volition, impervious, and harrow. I agree with Victoria, excellently done!

  17. Gee, I wish these replies could be added to the top, not bottom, because one needs to go all the way back to further reflect. I’ve not been trained to give feedback, so I have little to offer, other than I enjoyed it. I could understand the title a lttle better if you ended the poem “almost well,” I just re-checked and the title must be a sarcastic one, because you were still picking your wounds.
    I looked up sabre to make sure I understood it and one of the definitions was a duelling weapon. I have enough trouble wrting poetry without trying smething so complicated (to me) as a sestina. If it could have been shorter you probably could have avoided “bleeding heart”. There must be a better word than sarcastic to describe the title and linking the sabred words to “how dear it was.” Maybe “ironic?” I liked “broken beats,” and the entire poem, really,
    I guess I just feel uncomfortable with totally overwhelmingly positive replies (except to mine, of course). Thanks for doing this real-life metaphor of the pub. And thanks for vsiting incest.

    • There is a tendency to just give positive replies here at dVerse, so I really really appreciate your constructive criticism – somehow all my poetry are drafts, so they would probably need a lot of editing before they are truly ready.. The bleeding heart is of course a cliche that shouldn’t be there… The title I was only semi-satisfied with, but you’re quite right that it would have been better with the almost well at the end as well.

  18. You really got this awful lonely ache across with the poem. The way you played with the various definitions of the word “fair” was also quite clever as a subtle echo of the confusion and pain of the protagonist.

  19. I liked reading your broken romance lament, Bjorn. Been there, done that. I called my three in-between single years “three years of freedom.” Yes, I actually sobbed at times, still my sighs are often a stifled inward sob.
    I have some trouble with the form’s basic rule, that of having six recurring words in a revolving sequence. The examples I read don’t really hold to that, most either use one, like your word ‘fair’, or a set of three, like ‘in the country’ but these don’t really revolve, last to first at all.
    Perhaps that is too hard, it is supposed to be hard, but after reading a bit more I may try writing a Sestina. Thank you for sharing yours.

  20. I got a chill at the end. I love the way it is broken up with big feeling words hanging and the feeling of “almost.”

  21. I so enjoyed your opening stanza and it was only as I read on that I realized you had written a sestina. I find them to be incredibly challenging to write and sometimes difficult to read as the repetition seems to take over from syntax and meaning. However, I never felt like this was laboured at all. I enjoyed the way you used the form to explore relationship dynamics.

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