Taking a leap
[Comic] Book of Esther

Blog sestina

Unless you're a Jane Siberry fan, the phrase "Everything reminds me of my blog" probably won't make you chuckle the way it does me. (Hey, I don't have a dog for everything to remind me of.) But if everything does remind you of your blog and you want to know where your blog ranks and who links to you, Blogpulse is a fine place to go. They offer this blog profile thing; I've spent a while lately exploring mine, feeding my ego with the nifty graphs and charts that show that people actually read VR. Using the recent posts feature, I found a list of ten words I apparently use often: blogosphere, rabbinic, sanctuary, wage, canvas, translated, ancestors, problematic, compares, informal. It's almost a found poem, isn't it?

For a lark, I decided to turn it into an actual poem. If these are words I repeat, I reasoned, I should choose a poetic form that makes use of repeated words: why not a sestina? Sestinas repeat six words, not ten, so four of the above terms didn't make it in -- I leave it to you to figure out which ones they are.


In this web of words and links, a sanctuary
For those who like conversations informal.
No showy stained glass: our screens serve as canvas
Showcasing creation. Our truths, translated
From original settings, let each reader compare
Her way to mine and that of my ancestors.

All around us are reminders of the ancestors.
We raise the roof-beams of this sanctuary,
A coffee klatsch where we contrast and compare
Our theology around the table, informal.
We wear our grandparents' faces, translated
Into our generation's fresh gesso'd canvas.

Fast days, I wear Tevas or shoes of canvas:
Not the practice favored by my ancestors,
Finery in grand Czech tradition translated
Into a soaring-domed New World sanctuary.
Here on the internet we favor informal.
When everyone's casual, no one compares

My high heels to yours: all come in pairs,
And who wants the obligation to canvas
The stores for fashion? Our brisk informal
Lingo would befuddle the ancestors,
Though our words still smoke the sanctuary
Like offerings burned, meditations translated

Into type. Sure, everything's translated,
Though for rolling cadences nothing compares
With the ringing of rivers, the field sanctuary,
The wide world entire a collaborative canvas.
I wouldn't trade lifetimes with my ancestors
Even though I've forgotten Sinai, in formal

Terms the day revelation informed all
That God's infinite speech, translated
To words we could hear, fired our ancestors
To begin what we continue. What now compares
With the tents they dwelled in, canvas
Hospitality shaping their desert sanctuary?

In form, all prayers and poems compare,
Emotions translated to parchment or canvas.
Our stories, sanctuary. Now we're the ancestors.

Okay, clearly I'm not in the same league as the folks whose sestinas McSweeney's publishes (I'm just better at free verse) but that was fun to write. If anyone else checks out her/his frequently-used keywords via Blogpulse and feels moved to write a poem using the results, do let me know! I can't really imagine this meme sweeping the blogosphere, but I'd be highly amused if it did.

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