Ever so slowly rises the full moon
over the focused counsel of two close,
yet new, friends,
one native and one of foreign tongue.
Sitting in a still, uncharted valley,
they discuss grievances which niceties of
fresh acquaintance can no longer shade,
each hoping to have intentions and compromises embraced.
Total camaraderie, in their initial development, the twain had embraced.
Uncanny compatibilities were illuminated over one quick cycle of the moon,
so that each perceived an umbrella of support providing all-accepting shade.
Desiring to explore what mountains could quickly be reached by friends,
neither realized the subtle but numerous treacheries of the impending valley
as words of gratitude and promises rolled off each tongue.
Confusion first appeared as misinterpretations of the tongue.
Troubled was the native by phrases the foreigner strangely embraced
and falsely suspicious was the foreigner of the native in many
a conversational valley.
Benefit of the doubt carried them through many phases of the moon
and despite concerns still swiftly expanded their concept of Friends
while they now considered how a word might be heard with
an unintended shade.
One night, the foreigner began to speak suddenly with superficial shade,
and the native felt the burn of a judgmental, flaming tongue.
The foreigner pressed for eternal commitments between friends,
but the native could not with certainty say that these words
could yet fully be embraced.
Full of worry was the native that confusion of word might become
as periodic as the moon.
Requesting simplicity, the foreigner seemed oblivious to the small
but widening valley.
The foreigner claimed his statements to be of little weight,
unreflective of some furtive emotional valley.
The native so desired to believe that the burns were but a fluke:
of the foreigner’s whole, a mere shade.
Meanwhile the foreigner continually spoke of commitment
as faithful as the moon.
Admirably supporting the native on many fronts, the foreigner still yet
revealed twists of the tongue.
Emotions of the past, so hopeful and strong, fought valiantly
with the new enigmas they now embraced,
as both parties sought to clarify and keep flowing the beauty
of their entity they called Friends.
The native had always spoken of a looming condition which could
threaten any friends:
impending physical separation that neither could avoid would soon
create another valley.
The foreigner now revoked his words of eternity he had hitherto
so fervently embraced,
citing the future Diaspora, yet desiring to maintain emotions
under a now-conditional shade.
Shocked, the native understood not the sudden shift of mind and tongue.
How the native longed to return to their first days, to a slate as white
as the zenith moon.
Now sit the friends among ultimatums of hazy shade,
both seeking to bridge each valley, by respecting one another’s
heart and tongue.
Only with full orbits of the moon will they know the results of the pact
they have now embraced.
Copyright © 2013 by André Duvall
Editor's Note: When we referenced Miller Williams’s Patterns of Poetry: An Encyclopedia of Forms on October 1, we failed to mention that though the lines of a sestina are usually of equal length, their lengths can vary, as André’s sestina illustrates. Even the lines of Elizabeth Bishop’s sestina, which was an inspiration to both André and me, are of unequal length, though they are very nearly equal (and much shorter than most of the lines in André’s poem).