I’m sure that anyone who did level 3 Creative Writing with the Open University will recognise the form of this poem from Gill Standley. I’ve still not managed a sestina of my own, and have huge poetic respect for anyone who has.
Olive – by Gill Standley
I didn’t ever plan to choke the bins so full
and leave things in the garden, all on view.
Couldn’t care one bit if people see,
I just don’t want them judging, thinking me unable
to wash myself or cook a bit of tea. They may draw
up a care plan if they call again today.
Weeds pepper the garden, I counted them today,
mother’s flowerbed overgrown, soon be full
of dandelions and horsetail, the sort of plants to draw
attention, unkempt in someone else’s view.
I’ll chop the grass with father’s scythe, that’s if I’m able
to find it in his shed. I’ll go and see…
Who was it came to see
if I would like a stranger to visit me each day.
I said, forget it, I’m completely able
to take charge of things inside my home, jumbled full
with my possessions. No, they couldn’t view
inside. I was sorting out my special drawer.
This evening before I draw
my curtains, I wander to my window, see
a glint, a world that sparkles just beyond my view.
I rub my eyes and cry for echoes of a day
to carry me to places bursting full
of altered outcomes, and pray some are believable.
I wish he had come home again and we’d been able
to make our bed with linen from my bottom drawer
and join like a married couple should, full
of plans for a family, but all I see
is whiteness aged to yellow. No day
allows me to forget things which are buried from my view.
I stand outside and look at the familiar view;
clutches of biodegradable
bags rustle in the garden. Today
sees a collection of my gathering. I had to draw
the council up a plan for my recycling. I can see
they’ll have to leave more containers; my own bags are full.
A place full of garbage might be someone else’s view,
people only see what they’re able to explain;
I’ll be busy folding sheets in my drawer today…