Friday, August 19, 2011

Half-twist and link -- in a Sestina

     Mobius strip       by Heidi Willamson

     A simple science trick to try at home.
     Half-twist a slip of paper. Link the ends
     to make an ‘O’. Take a pencil, trace a line that loops
     the shape formed by the surface. See
     how the in and out sides merge. The join
     tangles dimensions. There’s no front or back.

     However many times you turn it on its back
     it holds its simple seamless shape like home.
     The connection goes beyond the fragile join:
     it feeds itself with endless seeming ends
     that work their way beyond what you can see
     and turn your mind in questioning quick loops.

     As your eye and mind work loops
     trying to connect the front and back
     you may brood over other things you see
     or don’t see. Like how ‘now’ always feels like home,
     and yet so many moments all have ends
     pulled tight through you without a join.

     If you could ask your younger self to join
     the many-voiced parade of you that loops
     across the supple, unsubstantial ends
     of days and hold your hand, and take you back
     to then, and examine each clear particle of home
     that was ‘now’ then, you’d see

     some things the mind just isn’t built to see.
     There’s no way to find the small, tight-focused join
     that makes this now, this here, so surely home,
     yet carries all the others in its loops
     that time won’t let you redo or take back,
     but lets you trace the fragile, moving ends.

     In photos, home-spun stories without ends
     that parents tell a child, you can see
     how hard you try to keep on turning back
     to what and who and how you know - to join
     this now, through blind reflexive loops,
     to something else and make yourself a home.

     Make a heap of loops at home and see
     how the joins make countless starts and ends.
     And think of ‘now’ as home. You can’t go back.

This sestina is from Heidi Williamson's collection Electric Shadow (Bloodaxe Books, 2011).   A previous blog posting with  poetic mention of a Mobius band occured on 23 June 2011.   Another sestina (a poetic form involving permutations of line-ending-words rather than rhymes)  was posted on  6 May 2011 and a variation of a sestina on 16 September 2010. On 19 November 2010 was posted a "syllable sestina."

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