Glow – a sestina by Smeetha Bhoumik

Written during GloPoWriMo 2017 with The Missing Slate, prompt from Nabina Das

A sestina with the six words – dulcet, mixing, cess, really, clot, trick

In the deepening shadows, a glow : tinkling dulcet
verses like hilly streams dotting silent rows, mixing
ethereal, outlandish, down-to-earth, all without cess
oh, none at all, save the promise you make, really
only to yourself, to see it as it is, and not let it clot
like congealed blood, unspoken, a dangerous trick!

Fleeting, ethereal, just a glimpse, is it real? Or a trick
of the eyes to lure you into forests flush with dulcet
tunes you knew so well. You go anyway, lest you clot
on forbidden territories of sloth, so yes you are mixing
fantasy & reality, dreams & shredded fear really,
even as you hum that old favourite tune without cess;

In search of a golden glow half imagined, is there a cess
on it? The forest is all dark and thunder rolls, an old trick
to frighten even the bold, the darkness is a blindfold really,
you walk on, trembling, hanging on by a thought so dulcet
so dear, that maybe you then shed your fear, and are mixing
visions of utopia with whatever is at hand, before it can clot.

Filaments of a golden light, strung on the night, a clot
half visible gnawing at it with all its might, that is the cess
you have to pay, to stay : fight, fight, fight forever, keep mixing
new elements, new lights, new directions, difficult to trick
into submission, difficult to seduce with false dulcet
tunes so apparent in their folly, transparent, yet invisible really!

Golden light, a golden deer? A chimera, a chiaroscuro? Really
is it just a figment of the imagination, no sound basis, a clot
on the landscapes of mind where all sorts of ripples dulcet
and mellifluous flow? Or is it to be gained with a steep cess
paid out with sieved thoughts, distilled deeds, where no trick
holds you back from seeing it, that golden light, you're mixing.

 Go forth into the vast and terrible night, where light is mixing
into shadows creating chiaroscuros or chimeras, or really
playing with your imagination, leading you on towards a trick
it loves best, to test you, throwing up phantoms within, a clot
within you, a dark spot you didn't  know you had, it's your cess
you pay to enter ephemeral golden strands with voices dulcet.

And when you've battled chimeras and hear voices dulcet,
know that the streams were with you all along, asking no cess,
It is your darkness in which chimeras hid, now they're but a clot.

Published in: Where I Belong – Moments, Mist & Song (Smeetha Bhoumik, Notion, 2019),and

Witness – A Red River Book of Poetry of Dissent, (Ed. Nabina Das, Red River, 2021)