Blood red blooms line dusty country lanes,
they dot the village verge, and a meadow
explodes into a rippling scarlet sea.
Here and there blow pale pink blooms,
their blushes fading in the sun,
papery ghosts haunting tired fields.
Dog day heat has scorched the brittle fields,
the only shade is found in leafy lanes,
even cows seek respite from the sun.
Yet butterflies flutter in the meadow,
colourful and delicate as poppy blooms,
navigating a wind-tossed grassy sea.
Returning from adventures on the high sea,
a sailor strides home across fields
scented with August poppies and other blooms.
Sweethearts stroll hand in hand in country lanes
and children hide in tall grass in the meadow,
their faces golden from the sun.
The punishing face of the August sun
does not distinguish between lake and sea,
juvenile stream and broad river, meadow
and ripened crop-filled fields.
It finds every pebble in the lanes,
each spot of mildew in fading wild rose blooms.
A scarlet poppy like a wound blooms
in the ditch beside the road; the thirsty sun
has drunk the earth dry. All along the lanes,
trees susurrate like the sea,
competing with brittle fields
and overgrown summer meadows.
Insects tick and chatter in the meadows,
accompany the gentle pulse of vibrant blooms,
while in the thirstily rasping fields
hardened soil cracks in the sun.
Tanned bodies seek solace in the sea
or haunt the cool shadows in country lanes.
Crimson-spattered meadows dry in the sun,
a flock of frazzled blooms on a rusting sea,
and blushing fields fade to daisies in the lanes.
Kim M, Russell, 15th August 2019
This Thursday Victoria is our host as we take off to the south of France, the land of complex poetry, and back in time to the 12th century, and the sestina. She tells us that the form is thought to have been developed by the troubadour Arnault Daniel, who would have set his verse to music since the theme was often focused on love.
Victoria says that the sestina is quite complex, with strict requirements, based on the repetition of six words which follow a given pattern of repetition as the end words of each line. It consists of six stanzas, each with six lines and concludes with a three-line envoi. Tricky!