a journal for eastern and western forms


Ekphrastic Sestina ~ I Dreamed A Dream

Karin Anderson, AU



I Dreamed A Dream


As ‘cry’ means sadness the word ‘cry’ should change,
because we can cry overjoyed with heart filled hope
As the shivers run up our spines like kissing bliss.
They thrill, chill and spill until they’re ice cold,
Yet magical warmth gives us hope for strength
And this strength triumphs in Susan Boyle’s song.

“I Dreamed A Dream” is her guiding light song,
A talent show entrant, she hungers for a change.
Her glorious voice soars from scorn to strength.
Before the audition she could lose all her hope,
It is dark outside and her bedroom’s crispy cold,
Sleepless she craves for her eyes to dream bliss.

A bad hair day with mismatched clothes no bliss,
Susan teeters on stilt heels to perform her song.
She takes the wrong bus in the chilblain cold
And poor Susan has six buses she has to change.
She arrives just on time and almost loses hope;
Told her time’s wrong, go home to rest for strength.

Her protest allows her to stay, yet await strength,
Contestants weep, shout, laugh and show bliss.
In early evening she has her chance for hope,
Toilet need, shaking, mouth dry, now her song!
“Be cheeky get yourself out there”, this change
She knows she must make, ignoring sweat’s cold.

Light’s glare nearly blinds her as blood runs cold.
Nervously she jokes to judges gaining her strength.
Liking Piers Morgan she wiggles hips for a change
And thinks “at least I’m different” to bring bliss.
She knows she’s laughed at but still sings her song.
Thousands of people listen and it gives her hope.

Susan reaches the pinnacle of heaven’s hope.
She knows her audience’s response could be cold.
Before, she’s asked to consider another song
But Susan insists her choice shows her strength.
Her late mother’s singing-lessons gift brings bliss
I feel her Mother guides her through God to change.

Susan Boyle incites change to nurture future hope,
Her voice, our bliss-gift when we’re warm or cold
As foresight’s strength triumphs her miraculous song!

Please Note: Reference - Prologue of Susan’ Boyle’s autobiography “The Woman I Was Born To Be

Susan Boyle ~ I Dreamed A Dream



The sestina is a complex form that achieves its often spectacular effects through intricate repetition. The thirty-nine-line form is attributed to Arnaut Daniel, the Provencal troubadour of the twelfth century. The name "troubadour" likely comes from trobar, which means "to invent or compose verse." The troubadours sang their verses accompanied by music and were quite competitive, each trying to top the next in wit, as well as complexity and difficulty of style.

The sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:

7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

The envoi, sometimes known as the tornada, must also include the remaining three end-words, BDF, in the course of the three lines so that all six recurring words appear in the final three lines. In place of a rhyme scheme, the sestina relies on end-word repetition to effect a sort of rhyme.





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