Wallow in Wonder Poem 14, 15, and 16: Synthesis/Sestina Poem

Apr 21, 2016

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Paul W. Hankins

You've probably wondered where I've been. I wish I could answer like Zora Neale Hurston's Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God to say, "I've been to the big Association of Life."

But, no. . .I've just been too busy. But not too busy to keep wondering. And not to busy to store away an idea for a poem on each day to correspond with a daily wonder. In fact, I've been sitting on the idea for a SESTINA (ish) poem that would allow me to synthesize three wonders into one poem. And I didn't want to pick three that would be too easy for me to create what is one of the more difficult forms of poetry to pull off (in fact, in my history as poet, I've only written one sestina and I think it was on a dare). Here are the three wonders that we will be pulling together for this piece:

Wonder 1668: "How Old is Barbie?"

Wonder 1669: "What are Circadian Rhythms?"

Wonder 1670: "How Does an Inkjet Printer Create All of the Colors?"

How is this for a mix? Do you see now why I might have needed a day or two to come up with the piece? Let's see how this goes.

Now. . .don't ask me to explain away SESTINA as it would take a whole blog post to do just this. I'll give you the pattern as I have it here.

  • Stanza 1: A, B, C, D, E, F
  • Stanza 2: F, A, E, B, D, C
  • Stanza 3: C, F, D, A, B, E
  • Stanza 4: E, C, B, F, A, D
  • Stanza 5: D, E, A, C, F, B
  • Stanza 6: B, D, F, E, C, A
  • Tercet: AB CD EF
    • First line of Envoi: B, E
    • Second line of Envoi: D, C
    • Third line of Envoi: F, A

I'll do a couple stanzas here just to see what comes of the form and the idea.


"Take Me to the Sky in a Big Plastic Plane" (a sestina-ish poem)


Carry me by the handle to the sky in a big plastic airplane (A)

take me around a factory-molded world and back again (B)

and let me lean to look out of a pre-painted, hot-pink window:(C)

to see see an ocean the size of a cereal bowl from the sky (D)

to see a mountain like mashed potatoes pushed around a plate (E)

to see the glitter of sand sprinkled about like a 5th grade art project. (F)


This is the plasticine, color-schemed, portable life I'd like to project:

to be whisked away under a flipped-bowl sky in my own airplane,

wherein I could drink from the Mattel cup and the Mattel plate

I sure wouldn't come back to a Monday through Friday world again.

Once I shed the uniform and career of the moment to take to the sky,

the heavens would be mine to see through a mirror like a decal window.


But, all I can do is look outside of this fold-out house window

and think about the next research and development shaped project

that will take me behind a fast food counter, but not to the sky.

And its easier to get the boardroom by bus than by an airplane,

so. . .it's back to the Fashion Plate, Colorform day-to-day again;

one never knows what new task can be put upon one's pink plate.


One might ask if to dream is too much to put upon one's plate

when the whole-wide world is just outside one's window?

But there I go, wondering in a Walmart world once again

when I should be thinking about articulating the next project,

but I dream of the chance to even be an attendant on an airplane

wearing a hot-pink uniform as I walk the aisles in a big, blue sky.


I mean, who doesn't sometimes just want to take to the sky

as if you could have the whole corrugated world on a plate?

Is it too much to ask that we plan to put together an airplane?

instead of sitting here looking out a machine cast, cut-out window

sketching out the latest professional path or personal project

because we're all nervous about Christmas Wish Lists again?


Let's return to the simple days and not close our eyes again,

to look through our painted on blue eyes that reflect the sky

and live the designer kitchen dream life that we wish to project.

Once more to the shelf with matching the cups and the plate.

The ability to unfold our lives to create for ourselves a window

and pretend that our breakfast nook is really a hot pink airplane.


Oh, to be aboard that airplane again

and once more to the window, sky.

Me, the Fashion Plate project.


And cast me once again, plate

and define my sky, window,

and call my life Barbie's "Project Airplane."







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