AUDIO of my SAMPLES 1-7 Repeats rectified

The audio file in this post is of SAMPLES 1-7 in my profile-apologies for repeats cockup.


This  below, was my first and only attempt (so far) at a Sestina, from about ten years ago?

I think it reflects:

1. the trepidation I felt at the thought of one of my 3 months-long walking trips and

2. the effort expended in the journey of trying to write this bloody thing!




Now I must stir, and onward urge this aching rattle-bag of bones,

These words made flesh are my companions on a long and winding road,

They’re stepping-stones across the torrents wild of love and fear and joy,

Sometimes with great meandering steps they mark a path, some truth foretell,

The task that I am set must be to forge a path to heaven’s gate,

I tempt the fates, but I am blessed, for others’ courage lights my way.


Now I must plan both warp and weft, that I may safely see the way,

With resolution I must fight to clothe and feed these poor bare bones,

One first step followed by a thousand is the way to reach that gate,

Both measured line and foreign accents mark this ancient, rugged road,

What words or deeds may spring from wandering spirits wild, who can foretell?

How can this restless struggle and toil lead pilgrims such as I to joy?


No sooner under way am I than doubting voices mock my joy.

‘This fool pretends to be a poet; he’s no right to come this way,

Can he plait fog or wear the emperor’s new clothes, can he foretell

To all the great and good their fates? Now mark our words, they’ll find his bones,

Gaunt, bleached by sun and wind and rain, for all to see beside the road,

His page in history a blank, he’ll be a beggar at our gate’.


My eyes are fixed on far horizons, for my goal is not their gate,

In God’s own time I will arrive, I’ll travel hopefully with joy,

With each new dawn, each breath that’s drawn, I’ll progress further on my road,

Through inspiration born of others’ deeds I’ll find or make a way,

My solitude gives food for thought and inner strength to move my bones,

But rat-race demons of distraction howl and curse, my doom foretell.


‘He’ll not succeed, he’s in a handcart off to hell’, the ghouls foretell,

‘He’ll run right out of words, a gibbering wreck he’ll be, at Peter’s gate’.

But I will heed them not: tonight, at journey’s end, a game of bones,

With pints of foaming ale, and hours of idle chat will be my joy,

In Lancashire with gradely folk, I’ll know I’ve found my real way,

Their honest labour’s made a nation; they are princes down our road.


My tale is told; and through a field of shining stars, I’ve made my road.

If you should care to walk that way, give heed to what your dreams foretell,

Stand firm and true, fly in the face of fear and doubt, do not give way,

Hold high your head come rain or shine, through brook and stile and kissing gate,

You will prevail if you can smile and fill another’s heart with joy,

Do that, and you will surely earn the right to rest your weary bones.


Sestina lente; that’s the way to take each step along your road,                                                                             

I feel the future in my bones, you will do well, that, I foretell.

Pause, lean your bones upon a gate beside the road that leads to joy.





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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Sun 21st Aug 2022 22:30

Thank you Tim.
It was an exercise set by our writing club -some exercise!

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Tim Ellis

Sun 21st Aug 2022 22:22

Well done Uilleam, you’ve undertaken a great journey and now you deserve a rest! I’ve not yet had the courage to tackle a sestina myself.

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