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Old 06-11-2002, 07:52 PM   #1
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Bono-themed sestina

A few weeks ago, I was teaching a poetry workshop for junior high school kids on the sestina. In case you don't know, the sestina is a form of poetry that dates back to fifteenth-century French love poetry, and it's an extremely difficult form because...well, you'll see why. Anyway, I've written sestinas before, but for this workshop I had a whole bunch of magazine pictures for the kids to pick through for inspiration, and one was of Bono holding a child in an African village during one of his many visits. Here's the sestina that the picture inspired:

The scene is bathed in sunlight.
In a seemingly tranquil Ugandan village,
dressed in fatigues and sunglasses, the singer
cradles a frightened and hungry child
who clutches a bottle of water
and finds peace in liquid quiet.

A rock star accustomed to noise is quiet.
He exchanges the spotlight for sunlight.
Perhaps he had given the bottle of water,
a precious commodity in this village,
to the wide-eyed and trembling child
who had never heard of this singer.

He's only the most recent protest singer
to penetrate this starving quiet.
But to his global fame, the child
is oblivious. All he knows is sunlight.
He sits with the Irishman in this village,
still clutching a bottle of water.

The blue plastic bottle of water
is the only thing between him and the singer
in the small and sandy village.
For now, all around them is quiet.
Decadence and simplicity meet in sunlight,
in the famed pop priest and an unassuming child.

Surely there is a story in this child,
in the flowing recess of the bottle of water,
in the yellow glow of African sunlight,
and in the tender, natural embrace of the singer.
But for now, storytellers are quiet,
and the tale is still unfolding in this village.

In a few days, the voice will leave the village
and the small, still-growing child.
Everything will return to an older quiet,
and they will search in new places for water.
But the world will hear from the singer,
still warm with trust and sunlight.

Who knows when there will be water for the child,
or when more than sunlight will warm the village?
It is for this that the singer will not be quiet.
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Old 06-11-2002, 09:00 PM   #2
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wow, that's quite amazing, I don't recall reading too many sestinas in my day and didn't remember what one was, so I didn't realize till near the end what was going on with the word play, which speaks a lot about the skill with which this was crafted, it didn't seem forced or contrived in the least, it just seemd very direct and resounding
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Old 06-11-2002, 09:06 PM   #3
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this is where I need one of those jaw-dropping-open-smiley-things. WOW.
that is incredible to have that much patience, and it turned out really, really well too; as Wanderer said, it was not forced at all.
Ive never heard of a sestina, that is just amazing...Im awed lol
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Old 06-14-2002, 09:17 AM   #4
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I'm incredibly humbled at your skill. Wow. You should send this to the man himself!

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Old 06-24-2002, 05:24 PM   #5
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Good idea, nice writing.
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Old 06-25-2002, 02:25 AM   #6
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Wow..cool
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Old 07-03-2002, 01:48 AM   #7
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Just had to move this up again. It's excellent in its execution, amazing in its structure, lyrical in its simplicity.

Yo!

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Old 07-03-2002, 06:17 PM   #8
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Wow that is awesome!
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