How to Write a
by Edmund Conti
|The idea is to use
only simple words
To end each of your six required lines.
Allowing you to get the most use from
For instance, use multi-purpose words
And avoid one-function ones like 'braggadocio'
That are used to, say, block on third and
Remember that a sestina is overly long --
Six time six lines is a lot of words.
You're going to need all your braggadocio
To get through this. There will be lines
And wrinkles all over your poet's body.
And every day you'll see more of them.
Hey, two stanzas! Just need four more of
Plus an envoi. Which is only half as long.
We can do this as well as anybody.
Humming along though we know the words.
We're pleasing our readers but the bottom
Where we have to profit from braggadocio.
By now we know how to spell 'braggadocio'
And 'sestina' -- good Italian words like
Will help you get in a few good lines
At your next cocktail party, jumping
Into witty conversation with your new-found
That are guaranteed to impress somebody.
You need a healthy mind in a healthy body
Unless, of course, you're Felix
A man of brute strength and few words.
I'm a nose tackle, he says, who needs
But professional football careers are not
Especially playing in the defensive lines.
Completing this won't keep you out of the
(Poetry has never nourished the body.)
But that's the short run -- in the long,
Command of the language, a little
And a flair for the obvious makes you one
The movers and the shakers. Mark my words.
Well, there's thirty-six lines of
I think we need an anti-body for them.
Something long on wit and short on words.