Streets of Strays

8 Mar

I wrote a sestina. Any comments and criticism would be lovely.

Bought whimsically from the shelter, the stray
Exploded all over the one room flat.
Expiring herself daily, she sought secret
Exits, hunted trinkets, climbed the curtains,
Frustrated by the back of the mirror,
She pounced up on to the typewriter.

Regretting the distraction of her inquisition, the writer’s
Bleeding hands checked returns of living irritants and strayed
To the phone. Catching butterflies in the mirror,
He caught his balding head and playground flat,
And stopped. Hung up the ‘hello’, drew the curtains,
And welcomed the small secret

Of her company. Sharing the secret,
She indulged the writer’s
Gentle paws, which moved like curtains
Across her fizzing back. Staying
His mind from daytime-TV, lying flat,
Lazily inclined, accustomed before the mirror,

She purred invitingly. In her was mirrored
A shelved discovery, future secrets
Which buzzed but would fall flat
If clacked out too loudly on the typewriter.
Disdain grew as she explored, her mind straying
To bored dominance, though streetlights and tarmac remained curtained.

Unseen moons or mice drew curtains
Nonchalantly over curiosity. In the mirror,
She saw a sultry bitch, filthy stray,
Scared behind the glass. Its magic secret
Smashed by the nail-on-chalkboard scored scratch, as the typewriter
Tapped a slowing dance. It’s jarring pulse fell flat

And silence swallowed up the one room flat.
She swept on to the radiator, glanced through the curtains,
Softly nudged the cold hand of the writer,
Mewed gently, nipped his nose, begged the mirror
For food, couldn’t between them fathom the secret
Of the tin-opener. Through the kitchen window, she strayed

Out. Sheets of rain in streetlights mirrored
Open air discoveries, bouncing out secret
Rhythms on the tarmac streets of strays.


2 Responses to “Streets of Strays”

  1. anneholloway March 11, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Whew! A sestina. I am impressed. I think you have chosen an ideal topic and setting because the form suits it very well, or maybe the form dictated the setting? Do you mean “staying his mind from day time tv”? Is it a typo or a deliberate break from the repetition? Either way, I prefer it as ‘staying’ because it is a break. Is the pattern cyclical? I may have to print it off and take a look. I am not a mathematical poet but I love the discipline of it, I think you have really focused on the mayhem of the kitten in the quiet order of the writer. I salute you! I love too the fact that this would work well spoken/performed, in true troubadour style. Who are you though, mystery poster?

    • Matt March 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

      Thankyou, I like that you think it would work spoken out.
      It was no typo. Though I feel sestina’s largely work better when the repetition is adhered to, I think it’s important to be able to vary it slighty if it works better. I felt, like you, that in this case it did. The content already existed in a very rough form and, having tried a sestina before, thought that this subject might fit better than my previous attempt.

      Thanks again,glad you liked it 🙂
      Matt M

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