Consequence - A Sestina

A sentence begins with a word 

or a condemnation of action 

capitals and gavels quickly fall 

emotions follow swift in step 

as bailiff's impassive approach 

begins a period of deep reflection


Narcissus gazed at water’s reflection 

unable to hear any Echo of Nemesis’ word 

unable to accept any lover's approach

as arms became petals no action 

was taken and so step by step 

legs became roots, body stems,  and petals did fall


Time for dread Persephone to return, it is fall 

and if small pomegranate seed did not sit in reflection

upon her tongue  no more upon her step 

would a dead man nor Immortal whisper the word

“welcome” as she would not leave and no action, 

choice or trick  hers to calm his approach


“Come closer,” you softly whispered at my approach

“I want to fall in love and in love fall 

next to you, each new thought an action 

until our bodies breathe body breath without reflection 

only sound and time until sound’s last word

is an unintelligible sigh-gasp spoken in simultaneous step”


A sentence then begins, so many years of silence, a step 

towards despair which leaves only to again approach 

to whisper poisons from ancient books within which no word

brings joy, Persephone and petals both fall 

Narcissus, now one-eyed blind, sees no reflection

now there is no action to any thought nor thought to any action


Grace, eloquence, art, love all stem from action

Narcissus blooms, Persephone embraces Demeter, each a quiet step

away from bailiff’s forced isolated reflection

paunchy and somnambulent, the judge fell asleep no bench to approach 

we all rise always rise before our fall

for in silence there is no final word


So, a call to action, a novel approach

Think carefully of consequence, step cautiously do not fall

For in darkness there is no reflection, in the beginning there is only the word.


◄ Weightless

Thank You ►


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Adam Rabinowitz

Tue 6th Aug 2019 05:59


I am just happy to be here and happy to get some eyes on my words. I so enjoy your poems. Hope you had a great day. I enjoyed writing the Sestina but will probably not attempt an other though it was a good drug...took my mind in many cool directions.

Kind of hung over from it though. I had no poems in me today.

Devon Brock

Mon 5th Aug 2019 21:33

I think you misunderstood me, I found the expanding line lengths to be a plus to the poem. As far as I know, the only restrictions in a sestina are the end-word rotation & number of stanzas. It really is a difficult form, and you pulled it off quite beautifully. I myself, am sceered of it (not a misspelling).


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Adam Rabinowitz

Mon 5th Aug 2019 17:36

So happy you both read the work and found it satisfactory. I researched the myths a bit myself and began a deep read of Persephones variations especially in regards to the phrase the Dread Persephone which I had not heard and forgot to capitalize in the poem.

Not sure I could have pulled it off if I did not have freedom of line length. I did not see a requirement there in any description of the form. Oh the edits if that is the case but will most likely limit myself to a small change in title.

Consequences...A Sestina of Varyong Line Length.?

Devon Brock

Mon 5th Aug 2019 10:49

This is fantastic Adam. I agree with Mae on that final tercet. Not being schooled in Greek myth, I had to look up a couple of things, but that's okay with me. Another thing I would like to point out is that the line lengths employed - ever expanding with each stanza and idea - is something I've never seen in a sestina, though I have also never performed an exhaustive survey of sestinas.

"In silence is no final word"! Oh yes indeedee that is delicious.


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Mae Foreman

Mon 5th Aug 2019 09:53

Wonderful sestina Adam! I loved the theme of Persephone combined with Narcissus! I love Greek mythology! Excellently executed and a beautiful story. That last tercet was the pinnacle and quintessential of the whole poem! Very well done! Try your hand in anything that you find interesting and challenging, get out of your comfort zone, that's the best way to go about it!
Bravo again!?

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Adam Rabinowitz

Mon 5th Aug 2019 07:21

I did it!!!

I wrote a first ever.

Super happy for edits, questions or suggestions.

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