Following the Pack


Today’s prompt is to write a poem which includes the words band, logic, pack, web froth,  and clean.  I’ll try a quick sestina. There really should be no such thing as a quick sestina–they take lots of work, so the free-association of this one is a little sloppy. I like the formal rules of it, but I always have trouble moving the ideas along because of the way the words that end the lines keep bringing me back. I think a brilliant sestina re-interprets the words much more ably than I can do in the few minutes I have.

Troubled Sestina
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

You’ve got to hand it to the band.
It takes a lot of guts to twist the logic
to coax the sheep to follow the pack
of howling wolves, to cast that web
of lies, of fluff and froth.
They’ll never get their hands clean.

Like Lady MacBeth trying to clean
her hands of that damned spot, the band
will soak and soap their hands in a froth
but they can never wash off that illogic,
never extricate themselves from the web,
never free themselves from the howling pack.

Because when you’ve joined the pack
you’ll never get your soul clean
or cut the cords of that binding web,
the strands that tighten like a band
about your throat. No logic
can pull you free of the poisonous froth.

The wolves are rabid, frothing
at the mouth, infecting the pack
with their bitter illogic.
Everything is utterly unclean
and decency has simply been banned,
the bonds of friendship lost in the web.

Find yourself in the center of the web
of prayers that surround you like a froth
of apple blossom, listen for the band
that plays a different melody, a pack
that will keep its hopeful music clean
and seek the source of logic.

Trust your heart’s logic.
Cast your prayers and spin your web.
If you want to keep your soul clean,
close your ears to the bitter froth
and the howling of the pack.
Follow a more ancient band.

This band will follow heart-logic.
This pack will spin a new web.
The froth of a new spring will make you clean.

*Oy. I am sick of that word “froth.” Ick. And “clean” settles the poem too much into a religious experience, and the whole thing feels a little high and mighty now that I am done. Still, I love writing sestinas. I think I’ll have my Creative Writing crew do sestinas next semester.

Gratitude List:
1. Zootopia–We watched it at Wrightsville Elementary tonight. It was a little hard to hear because the kids in the back of the gym kept up a bit of a ruckus. But a good movie with a bit of a pointed point to it.
2. Music chapel. Always incredible. We sometimes have professional musicians in chapel, and they’re sometimes pretty good, but I don’t think anyone enjoys them as much as we do when our own students are creating music. I think the proper terminology to describe Ben’s guitar-playing was “serious shredding.” It was fantastic. I sometimes feel like I am at an arts school.
3. Sometimes things happen in class that you just don’t plan for. Today in one class of struggling readers, a fairly incidental character appeared in the book we’re reading and a student wanted to stop and talk about him, so we talked about how the Mexican farm workers felt safer going to Mr. Yakuta’s market. “Just like Donald Woods,” said the student. I thought it was a wild leap, but I asked him to explain. “They felt safe with Mr.Yakuta, like Biko felt safe with Donald Woods.” Wow.  “Yeah,” said another student, “and like that coach in the movie Radio. Radio felt safe with the coach.” And suddenly we were into a conversation about safe people, about how we want to be the safe people, like Mr. Yakuta, and Donald Woods and the coach. They made the connections. Powerfully.
4. Experimenting with words
5. Chocolate.

May we walk in Beauty!

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