Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beatrice bold

Here's a sestina, a ridiculously difficult sort of poem to both write and make sense in. The only other sestina I've successfully written, quite deliberately, lacked all sense and meaning whatsoever, so the fact that there's even a glimmering of meaning in these lines that follow I consider to be quite worthy of remark. (This is a true story, by the way, though some details have been omitted.)

One time in Melbourne the Baron and me
Had a flat and two cats called Harriet and Bea
And we all lived together in Location C
Until one day we moved to a suburb called G
With a frontyard, a backyard, a bush and a tree
And "Oh!" said the Baron, "we'll be happy and free!"

But Bea said to the Baron, "we are trapped! Set us free!"
And she miaowed and she miaowed at the Baron and me,
"For this isn't my flat and that tree's not my tree
And where have you taken us? How can it be?
We must flee we must flee from this suburb called G
For our home is not here - oh why don't you SEE?"

And she pined and she longed for her old flat in C
And the moment the door opened - BOOM! - she sprang free!
And she ran harum-scarum from the suburb called G
From her sister Harriet, the Baron and me
And we called and we hollered we shouted for Bea,
In frontyard in backyard by bush and by tree.

She was not in our bush she was not under our tree
We searched and we searched but we just couldn't see
We drove to spot A we searched suburb B
And could she o would she now she was free
Flee from her sister, the Baron, and me
And flee back to spot C from her new home in G?

The rain fell like tears on the suburb called G,
We had almost despaired when THE NEIGHBOUR'S FIG TREE
That was next to the home owned by the Baron and me
Started shaking and shivering and what did we see
In the leaves but the face of a cat who'd run free,
A wet and cold renegade - WHY YES! IT'S BEA!

Now our home's a cosy nice place in which to be
The cosiest nicest home in all suburb G
Two cats and two humans all happy and free
With a plum and two pear and an orange tree -
And Bea never more pined for the flat in spot C
But stayed put with Harriet, the Baron and me.

The Baron and me and Harriet and Bea
Would love you to see our new home in G
With 21 trees - and two cats roaming free.


Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I'm so glad there was a happy ending! I was getting very worried.

TimT said...

Thank you, we were very relieved when we finally spotted her. Bea escaped the next day as well; we found her that evening in the neighbour's garden.

I'm also glad I managed to get out of the sestina alive. They're fiendish devices to trap the unwary poet...

M L Jassy said...

Sigh - a moving and poetic triumph!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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