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“The Great Wall”  

Blood and sweat and bone…
Mix the mortar, carve the stone.
Sun-polished, the workers shone.
We have shrunk, the wall has grown.
Side by side, we die alone
Building a wall to spackle a throne.

The man who sits upon the throne,
Is no less than blood and bone.
Upon that chair, he sits alone.
He does not sweat who moves no stone.
Wall and fear, both have grown.
His pale face rarely shone.

The heating, beating sun still shone
Yet cast no light upon the throne!
The wall’s shadows also have grown.
Blood and sweat and bone…
They have no hats that wear a stone.
They did not go alone.

In darkness sat the man alone.
With fevered eyes that brightly shone
For those beyond his realm of stone,
In fear of being overthrown.
Blood and sweat and bone…
Long and white his beard has grown.

Bright as an ember have we grown.
The king kills his people faster alone,
So that nothing remains, not one bone
Would an enemy be shown,
But an old man sitting on a throne:
He hid his people in the stone.

Slick and wet is that dragon-stone!
The fattened belly of the wall has grown.
Its mouth a throne.
The man is gone—it sits alone
Snakelike in the grass, it shone
Blood and sweat and bone…

And sleeping there, it sleeps alone.
Feel the wind, hear it groan,
“Blood and sweat and bone…”

*Author’s Note: I wrote this one sometime in 2009 or 2010, even read it at a Poetry Slam in Fayetteville, GA.  I was reading a book called Introduction to Poetry and came across a sestina and without thoroughly reading the instructions on how to write a sestina (you see where this is going) I decided to write one myself.

A sestina is a poem of 6 stanzas where the last word is reused in an exact order.  (By the way, I also cheated here and there and utilized homonyms but I made up for said cheating by making it whole thing rhyme!)  In short, the format should look like this:

First Stanza a-b-c-d-e-f
Second Stanza f-a-e-b-d-c
Third Stanza c-f-d-a-b-e
Fourth Stanza e-c-b-f-a-d
Fifth Stanza d-e-a-c-f-b
Sixth Stanza b-d-f-e-c-a

First line of Envoi b-e
Second line of Envoi d-c
Third line of Envoi f-a

Guess who forgot three words in the envoi?

Yup.  Me!  Oops.  But at least I wrote a poem that I like, right?  Right! :)