Poetry On Demand

Part of the "Send Two Hippies In Love To San Francisco" Fund.



The sestina is a style of sixes- it has six unrhymed lines in six stanzas, in which the words on the end of the first stanza's lines that recur at the end of each line in the following stanzas. There is also a three-line concluding stanza, which may or may not incorporate all six words, but certainly contains three at the end of the lines. One feature of the end-words is that they never occur in the same line in any stanza, for example, the end-word of the first line of the first stanza will not be the last word on any of the other stanza's first line.

There is usually no meter, but I can use one, upon request.

The difficulty in writing a sestina lies in making sure the six end-words are never boring to read, or stale. And usually, by the end of the poem, some kind of story has been told.


we were young, we were eternal
in the full blossom of our youth;
and that never-ending summer
that was the greatest of our life
we knew that we would never age
all the worries of high school past

and who would dare fault us our youth?
our exuberance for summer
when school still dictated our life
even after we’d come of age,
after graduation was past,
those twelve years that felt eternal?

the parking lots in the summer
driving in circles, filled with life
listening to bands our parents’ age
Don McLean singing of the past
American Pie’s eternal
forever the anthem of youth.

but nothing’s permanent in life
there is a death to every age
how’d we know it was going past,
when we thought it was eternal?
who could foretell the end of youth
even near the end of summer?

no one ever thinks they will age
the best times are never the past
not when your days are eternal
and on your tongue you still taste youth
you don’t see the end of summer
when you’re busy living your life

then we were dreaming of the past
where we found those days eternal
and we woke up without our youth
on that final day of summer
we felt the call of a new life
the unexpected weight of age

life eternal, fountain of youth,
where was summer, and that sweet life?
yet we must age, and time goes past.


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