A Lifetime Ago

A lifetime ago we said our vows
Meaningfully and sure we gazed with love
Words and feelings touched our hearts
Entrusted together until breath’s end part
Bride with honor as her intention
Groom to guide and bid me follow

I allowed your lead; we had a path to follow
My trust placed in you through solemn vow
Our course clearly directed our intention
Life settled in–I thought I’d found love
But egoic authority threatened to part
It began the total breaking of hearts

What most call love, I know now is less heart
Than foolish games that we follow
These games are sure to wedge apart
Meaningless and hollow became those vows
Our life’s truth gone the way of “love”
Now day to day survival is our intention

Can we return to our true intention
Or will tortured psyches ruin our hearts
My mind is reeling; where is love
Your weaving path I will not follow
Belief no longer binds me to vows
To find freedom’s release is my part

Two now fragmented into parts
No longer sharing life’s intention
My eye of knowing avers my vow
Myself to depend with open heart
No longer needing someone to follow
I nurture myself with limitless love

Internal knowledge my source of love
Finding the whole that was never apart
Footsteps I take without following
Turning inward affirms my intention
The One has always held my heart
To look to myself my only vow

Find all love through love’s intention
Without division, it’s not apart–it resides entirely in your heart
There’s no one to follow and no need for vows

A Sestina

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60 Comments

  1. Gayle, this is a meaningful piece for me, just as my piece was for you. My first marriage was to a controlling man who took the lead. At first I kind of dug not having to make decisions, but gradually, as I found I had, you know, a BRAIN and all that, and my friends had been driven away, and even the BABY was depressed by him and he wouldn’t get help? Adios, senor.

    True love is in The One, and it resides in each of us. The knack is in how we share it – with conditions? NO. Unconditionally. Peace, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/our-first-actual-date-3ww/

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    • Amy, it seems we have some similar experiences in our past. Yeah, it’s kind of cool awakening to the fact that you have a brain…hehe. Very sad about the baby being depressed though. No, these types never get help–too bad–adios senor is right!

      We WIN!!

      Thanks for sharing, Amy–you’re a sweetheart.
      Hugs,
      Gayle

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  2. A lot of interesting thoughts…very good read 🙂

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  3. Loved the poem.. especially about the self unlimited love. smiles… I’ll leave the format to the learned of such things.

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    • Thank you, Michael. That self love is the most important kind–then we can love others more easily. Still working on it…

      It took me hours yesterday working on that dang form! I just looked it up and decided to give it a try–whew!

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  4. What a fine poem and fine sustina. I am totally with you on the sentiment, Gayle. Well done. Bravo!

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  5. THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME CONNECTION TO YOUR PAST. “CAN WE RETURN TO OUR TRUE INTENTION” IS SUCH A PERFECT LINE. LOVE IT. THANKS FOR SHARING AS IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THERE ARE TIMES THAT WE ARE BEING LED WITHOUT BEING QUESTIONED AND THE DAY WE DECIDE TO LIBERATE, WE FINALLY LIBERATE!

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    • Oh yes, a connection to my past–and I’m so thankful that it is in the past. To fully live in liberation is my goal.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this–thank you for you visit and very nice comment.

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  6. jgavinallan

     /  July 28, 2011

    Gayle: This is so obviously you. When you talk or hint of your past…the emotions flow. Seriously—they fall as from a waterfall. Also, you can see the strength and character you possess.
    Very uplifting for anyone…woman or man
    Jaye
    hugs
    xoxoxoxoxo

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    • You are so generous with your compliments, Jaye. I am truly grateful for your kindness. I feel encouraged that my feelings are coming through–I think it is good for me to express them.

      Thanks so much.

      Hugs,
      Gayle

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  7. This was such a wonderful way to express a difficult time. Your words flow with so much description. I love the line,” Two now fragmented into parts”.
    It shows that two people are broken. They no longer can be with each other.

    You are compassionate with him despite your pain. Very caring, Gayle.

    Namste,
    Izzy xoxox

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    • I do seem able to have more compassion for him now that we are apart. I didn’t think I had expressed that here though–it’s interesting that you picked up on that.

      Thank you, Izzy, for visiting me and being so generous with your compliments.

      I hope you are improving day by day.

      Love and hugs,
      Gayle

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  8. love will fail with out truth and compassion, trust. the self fights to be seen, heard and understood. We were put on this earth to be happy and true to ourselves. So many of us are broken, but we continue on and mend and heal. learn to love ourselves more, to hear our self first. You captured all of these truths in this poem. divinely done.

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    • It’s amazing the myriad ways that people use to sabotage their relationships–the ego is so clever at wanting to “win”! But it’s lose-lose for all when it turns into a competition.

      You are so right–we must hear and love ourselves first–and be true to ourselves. We were put here to be happy.

      Thank you, Luna.

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  9. Nice writing 🙂 Love the last lines:

    Find all love through love’s intention
    Without division, it’s not apart–it resides entirely in your heart
    There’s no one to follow and no need for vows

    Beautiful use of metre

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  10. I’ve been asking the same question lately. Can feelings be reinvented?

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  11. There is no need for vows. We belong to ourselves and the One is within us. Why then should we lose ourselves? Wonderfully written. Thank you!

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  12. Stunning sestina. I too have been down this road.
    “True realisation of the loving union within ourself is an experiential form of higher spiritual immortality.” Paul Dunne.

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    • Thank you very much. Too many of us have been down this road–but I guess perhaps the experience is what can propel us on to look within. A great quote there by Paul Dunne too–thanks for sharing.

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  13. A.B. Thomas

     /  August 1, 2011

    whoa, this write has such depth – wowsers! Sometimes the hardest lies of life are created by our own self-deceptions of the reality of the situation

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  14. A sad and moving bit of writing. I’m not knowledgeable regarding the form and finer points of poetry, but i know a good one when I read it. This is defintiely one of them.

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    • I just decided to teach myself this sestina–believe me I am very un-knowledgeable about the finer points of poetry myself!

      And I’m very happy you found this something that you liked, Charles. Thank you.

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  15. Internal knowledge my source of love
    Finding the whole that was never apart
    Footsteps I take without following
    Turning inward affirms my intention
    The One has always held my heart
    To look to myself my only vow

    A great sestina on a difficult subject. Thank you.

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  16. Where is love… I could relate to these lines so much…

    ‘Can we return to our true intention
    Or will playing psyches ruin our hearts
    My mind is reeling; where is love’

    An evocative verse… liked it so much…
    thanks for sharing..

    Shashi
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2010/05/whispers.html

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  17. Shashi is sharp on your verse here, agreed,

    May love find you.
    Happy Potluck!

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  18. thats is how life acts often. we start with best intention but things take their own pace.

    you are a very brave person gayle.

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    • Yes, even with our best intentions things can go awry and veer into another direction altogether.

      Thank you very much, Trisha ji. I think you may be even braver…

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  19. Thanks for rising to the sestina challenge. The last line works well in bringing it all together.

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    • I arose to this challenge last month when I decided to challenge myself. Thank you, Matt–I hope it didn’t make you cringe too much!

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  20. Nice to reread this and I stand by my previous comment :).

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  21. I’m sensing a theme today. Much that’s good in this piece. I believe you did conform to the end words and worked in a good bit of internal rhyme as well. The course of the poem is heartbreaking and such a sad reality for so many and you wrote about it here. I don’t believe there is a prescribed length of line for sestinas so your lines of uneven length don’t break any.

    I have a couple of tiny pickies as one might say. I couldn’t find “egoic” listed in the dictionary and while I’m for coining new words, I think in this case I’d use “egotistic” as it would work rhythmically in the line. The other is with the word “psyches” which is strong and great but I think you can find a better verb form than “playing” to modify it. (Torque, tortured, twisting came to my mind) but of course, it is entirely your poem and as I said, these are next to inconsequential quibbles.

    It’s seems to me to be an otherwise excellent sestina!

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    • I appreciate your generous critique and you sharing your thoughts on the topic I chose.

      I found “egoic” listed in the “New Words and Slang” department of the online Merriam-Webster. There does seem to be some controversy about the word–I chose to use it anyway. I agree with you about the word “playing”. I certainly could have used one of those much better words that you thought of! Tortured–that would work perfectly! I’m changing it.

      Thank you again for your time spent and I’m very happy to see that it turned out to be otherwise excellent. Whew–this was a killer!

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  22. i am glad you escaped…a sad reality too many see…and played real well to form as well…if only intentions were as often realities….

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    • I am too, Brian–you have no idea… This world sure is filled with a lot of suffering isn’t it. Yes, if only.

      You are always so generous with your comments–I truly appreciate that .

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  23. Hi – i thouroughly enjoyed reading your powerful exploration of a complex idea in this form – i have much to learn re:sestina but with great examples such as this i will make short work of honing my effort.

    love and all its complicated dynamics is tricky – but you have penertrated the superficial layer and really gotten under the surface there in lies an authentic an honest voice which triumphs over heart ache.

    thankyou and cheers to art and the sestina a worthy distraction from all our heart breaks

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    • Hi–I appreciate your kind words here for me–thank you. This was my first and only sestina to date as of last month. Whew!

      Yes, a topic that, unfortunately, most of us can relate to but if you can keep your wits about you, you can survive. It’s the “keeping your wits about you” that is really the tricky part–isn’t it.

      Thank you again for a lovely visit and comment.

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  24. Laurie Kolp

     /  August 25, 2011

    Looks like our sestinas our similar… I like yours better. = )

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    • I went to read yours before I commented back to you–truly yours is lovely and flows beautifully with the words you chose. And you’re right, the topic is similar. This is my one and only sestina written just a few weeks ago. I’m still recovering! 🙂

      Thank you for your lovely compliment, Laurie.

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  25. This is a moving Sestina.. is this your first as well? well i made my first attempt at Sestina though i’m not sure if somehow i give justice to the form and the piece itself like the way you did with yours. Your envoi is fantastic and raises wisdom – i must agree with it. Brilliant one! I enjoyed!(:

    ~Kelvin

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    • Yes, my first one. It seems this was a first for a few people–and I know why–it’s quite an undertaking!

      I so appreciate your kind comment here–very nice of you to share your thoughts with me. Thank you, Kelvin.

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  26. Oh my! This was such a worthy read! I can find no flaw here…a good bit o’poetry is sometimes just that. You guys have taken this form and made me want to try again! Thank you 🙂

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    • Believe me when I say, I had a lot of anxiety about posting this because I had self-taught myself this form a few weeks ago and wasn’t sure at all if I had followed the format carefully enough. This was a daunting exercise–I thought so anyway.

      So, I’m very pleased to be receiving such nice comments about this. Thank you very much. I would like to try it again too!

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  27. Love these lines: “But egoic authority threatened to part” and “To find freedom’s release is my part.”

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  28. This is a beautiful sestina… full of love yet haunting sad in some lines. The tercet wraps up all the words and meaning very nicely.

    You did this better than I did and thanks for showing me a fine example. Need to wrap around my head with this form considering I just learned it in one afternoon.

    Have a good day and see you ~

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    • Thank you for your lovely compliments, Heaven.

      I wrote this last month–just wanted to give it a try. I found it took a lot of concentration! I think you did very well–amazing for an afternoon’s undertaking. Most who tried this form seemed to be first-timers. It was tough–look at how few people even wanted to give it a try.

      Enjoy your weekend.

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  29. Excellent. I like the way you used the form and did not judt to write one. You had something to say and used the form to present it. Well done. FInding the whole that was never apart; is almost spiritual. A beautiful line as was the entire piece.

    http://henryclemmons.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/poets-reach/#comments

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    • Yes, I did have something to say–I usually do! Haha… This was a tricky form to tackle–but I’m glad I followed through with it.

      Thank you for the kind compliment–it is encouraging.

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  30. This is the second of your sestinas I’ve read. It’s a difficult form to write in, but can really force you to develop as a poet. This work is obviously drawn from a difficult time in life that way too many people can relate to. The other sestina I read was almost a chant, a reaching into the sacred place where our self is the calmest and the most itself. This sestina reaches into pain and rejection and you can see that in the way the language flows. You’re an excellent poet who has the ability to mold language to ancient forms in fresh ways.

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    • I’ve just written two sestinas so far…if you ever give it a try, let me know, I would love to read yours. Yes, it was a very difficult time and I know that there are many who can relate with similar situations. I’m very grateful to you for your very generous compliment here for me…I really appreciate it…thank you, Thomas.

      Like

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