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October 29 , 2007

Percy and Me 'neath the Yum Gum Tree (a poem)


You may have asked yourself this burning question: How did 12th century courtiers in southern France impress a queen, achieve creative immortality, and enjoy a pleasant head buzz all in one shot? Answer: they wrote sestinas. A complex spiraling poetic form, the sestina uses repetition of six carefully selected end words to create multiple levels of tension for the reader or, as Stephen Fry describes, “elusive patterns that cannot be quite held in the mind all at once.”
A double sestina with twelve repeating end words and a 12-line concluding envoi doubles the fun and the story effect. In “Percy and Me ‘neath the Yum Gum Tree”, a woman flees shallow modernity in search of veritas, only to get strung up, in the way of all good myths, in the company of a famous Romantic poet and curious wee people who bite.

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