By: Dario DiBattista
Brief overview of the form:
In a sestina, you use the same six words as the end-words of the lines within six different six-line stanzas (sounds kind of devilish huh?). The positioning of those six words changes in each of the six different stanzas. A seventh stanza of three lines uses the six words yet again. As you can imagine, this form is pretty damn challenging. The metering is completed using an iambic pentameter grid (ie, unstressed beat then stressed beat times five for each line)
From Iraq: A Sestina to Home
I want to tell you loving friend about
The things that show my certainty of death
Here in the heartland of Sunni Iraq -
The desert region given to Marines
One year after Saddam Hussein’s steep fall,
When tough insurgents rallied up to fight
The foreign men who also yearned to fight.
You see: the War isn’t at all about
A weapon massed destruction; or the fall
Of the regime; Uday or Qusay’s death;
Uncouth and wild, whipped then unleashed Marines -
It is about shaping a new Iraq,
A warped republic framed from old Iraq.
This new nation won’t come without a fight -
A ceaseless war: Islam versus Marines.
If they could move beyond hatred about
The murdered Ali, Imam Supreme (death
By Sunnis, date Six-Sixty AD), fallen
Fighters could rest in peace with old ways fallen
Away, behind the rest of time. Iraq
Could be a land that worships life not death!
This fortune won’t congeal my friend, for fighting
Just seems to fit the fervent, mad about
Their lands becoming unpure with Marines.
I know that Jihad just angers Marines;
This War won’t stop; we’ll continue to fall...
On quiet nights, I often think about
If fighting never started in Iraq
If men didn’t know how to shoot and fight
What happens after I trade life for death?
I think the most about my life and death.
Will anyone respect a killed Marine -
Another death exchanged in futile fighting?
Will anyone remember where I fell?
What will become of a bloodied Iraq?
My friend, when my life ends, please tell about
The pointless deaths of the men who were fallen -
The dumb Marines who signed up for Iraq,
When no one knew what we should fight about.