a haiku sestina-sestina haiku

This was an exercise to see if I could combine my two favorite forms of poetry, haiku and sestina, and to place the poem in Japan, and use a natural theme. By far the most difficult poem I’ve written. The rules are in my sidebar.

“The Land Of Sorrows”

distant white capped peaks
pilgrims assent sandals worn
sun releases songs
floating beneath clouds
bright colored ancestors shrine
incense curls to sky

trees bend angry sky
waves frothing to deadly peaks
Kompira-san shrine
long stairway steps worn
camphor and elm among clouds
sea deity songs

drums pound ancient songs
thunder lifts to sullen sky
drowned from swirling clouds
ragged lightning peaks
poor rice farmer spirits worn
downstream floating shrine

sacred temple shrine
petitioners chanted songs
polished wood planks worn
shrieking birds fill sky
Nainokami shakes peaks
landslides choking clouds

flames feed oily clouds
bronze bells tolling mournful shrine
Shinto black hat peaks
white costumed death songs
purification clears sky
new amulets worn

old trembling hands worn
brown eyes contain milky clouds
memory of sky
last journey to shrine
lifetime spent prayerful songs
Amida call peaks

pale clothes worn to shrine
parting clouds hear somber songs
blessed sky sun warm peaks

Linked for Open Link Night 1/12/17.


32 thoughts on “a haiku sestina-sestina haiku

  1. You really set the bar high for yourself with this challenge of melding forms but accomplished it well…I love the incorporation of sky and shrine within the forms 🙂


  2. wow what a brilliantly ambitious write ~ a sestina in itself is a difficult poem to carry off without it reading incredibly rigid and betraying all of its rules, and here you’ve managed to double it and flank it with haikus and absolutely succeeded all while including great imagery like “brown eyes contain milky clouds”

    great to read, cheers


  3. Your poem (and my years in Japan) inspired me to look up Sestina — it is a big challenge, and tells why the poem seems trippy, repetitive and a bit scattered like worn clouds singing in the sky above the mountain shrine. Fun — and mixing a Haiku flavor at that!


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