A Sestina about May


My favourite day is the first of May
when our naked trees sprout their lime green leaves,
Magnolias come bursting into blossom,
down stone walls tumble Aubretia cushions,
motor mowers pass manicuring grass,
and we listen long to evening bird song.

Blackbird comes along, singing his sweet song
in his usual way, and with luck he may
catch a worm he’ll pass, grubbing in the grass.
And his offspring heave at the worm he leaves
under the bushes, or in dark cushions
of rocks with moss on, below the blossom.

The hedgerow hawthorn just starts to blossom
as the chaffinch throng are trilling their song.
Wind-blown fur catkins fall into cushions,
drifting down to stay rotting where they may
mix with cherry’s long forgotten leaves,
settling down to pass amid the mown grass.

Dandelions and daisies will dot the grass,
wild flowers will don their springtime blossom.
His hideaway house our hedgehog now leaves
and frogs are croaking out their mating song
Bees will buzz away and butterflies may
sup infusions from their pollen cushions.

Lazily I’ll lounge on cotton cushions
listening to crickets grizzling in the grass
and at end of day I possibly may
sup a glass of wine made by Blossom
Hill, and before long birds will sing their song
sitting in the eaves or beneath the leaves.

Oh how my heart grieves when there are no leaves,
or profusions of violet cushions!
Oh how much I long to hear Spring birdsong
and see blackbirds pass grubbing in the grass
or the vivid vision of cherry blossom
proudly on display in the month of May.

I yearn for the song of the woods in May,
for purple cushions and springtime blossom,
for young lime green leaves and freshly mown grass.

**************

A Sestina is a structured 39-line poetic form consisting of six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a three-line stanza containing the six words ending the first stanza, two in each line.
The words that end each line of the first stanza are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas, rotated in a set pattern.

Table of sestina end-words
STANZA 1 STANZA 2 STANZA 3 STANZA 4 STANZA 5 STANZA 6
1 A 6 F 3 C 5 E 4 D 2 B
2 B 1 A 6 F 3 C 5 E 4 D
3 C 5 E 4 D 2 B 1 A 6 F
4 D 2 B 1 A 6 F 3 C 5 E
5 E 4 D 2 B 1 A 6 F 3 C
6 F 3 C 5 E 4 D 2 B 1 A
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