Many times still in my sleep,
I find myself rising in flight.
Alone with my talent I keep my sense private,
Above ground at last I can breath.
Delighting in freedom but inside deep buried
The truth knows I lie as I dream.
In a mad slumber I stand in my dream
An easy delusion beats truth back to sleep
A leumy illusion that keeps my eyes buried
In clouds up toward heaven to fly!
Here I go now, steady flow now, breathe:
Rise slowly drift low floating in private.
But no, my feet are stuck, in private
It hits me – men won’t fly – it’s my dream.
So I stop the vain logic and breathe.
Just minutes before in mid air as I slept,
I felt so light I could fly.
Hard on the ground flight hope is buried.
I sink in soft earth till I’m buried.
“Far from a soaring triumph” I say in private.
Here’s death underground – from this fate fly!
Panic! Dig out and run! No – just a dream.
Covered in dirt, deep frozen in sleep,
I haven’t a choice but to breathe.
Impossible floating, then choking I breathe,
The truth in my soul lies buried.
Blunt thoughts I can’t face emerge in my sleep
March forward in garb strange and private.
Colors shadow to gray repeat in these dreams
With fantastic death and unlikely flight.
Earth breaks away – I float glide and fly!
There’s no question of power and breath.
Fate takes a turn – it’s a dream.
Pain, suffering, and boredom are buried
Joy fills my throat, clear thought stays private
And I know it’s not real, I’m asleep.
The paradox of sleep and flight
Lie buried in dark dreams.
In private I breathe “goodnight.”
A sestina (Old Occitan: cledisat[klediˈzat]; also known as sestine, sextine, sextain) is a fixed verse form consisting of six stanzas of six lines each, normally followed by a three-line envoi. The words that end each line of the first stanza are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas, rotated in a set pattern.
The invention of the form is usually attributed to 12th-century troubadourArnaut Daniel; after spreading to continental Europe, it first appeared in English in 1579, though sestinas were rarely written in Britain until the end of the 19th century. It remains a popular poetic form, and many continue to be written by contemporary poets. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sestina
So in this sestina, the end-words of the first stanza are: sleep; flight; private; breathe; buried; dream.
Followed by: dream; sleep; buried; fly; breathe; private – and so forth.
If the words were numbered, the pattern would be: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – 6, 1, 5, 2, 4, 3. And so forth.
The sixth stanza is followed by a tercet that is known variably by the French term envoi, the Occitan term tornada, or, with reference to its size in relation to the preceding stanzas, a “half-stanza”. It consists of three lines that include all six of the line-endings words of the preceding stanzas. This should take the pattern of 2–5, 4–3, 6–1 (numbers relative to the first stanza); the first end-word of each pair can occur anywhere in the line, while the second must end the line. However, the end-word order of the envoi is no longer strictly enforced.
I wrote this poem after having a series of recurring dreams of slowly rising in flight followed by softly returning to earth and then slowly and irresistibly being sucked underground or in some cases, forcefully submerged underwater. I would go into a nightmare panic mode and sometimes wake halfway up when being pulled underground or underwater only to fall back to sleep and find that I could actually breathe under ground or under water. Then I would break out of the ground or shoot out of the water and fly.
So I wrote a sestina about it.