Sunday, December 14, 2008

No, it doesn't rhyme...

My new blogging friend Jannie Funster recently posted something on her blog that got me thinking about Aimee. It's been just over six years since she died. And there've been so many times over the last six years that I've found myself thinking, "I wonder what Aimee would do in this situation? I wonder what Aimee would think? I wonder if Aimee would like this new ice cream flavor, or if Moose Tracks would always be her favorite??" I bet she would've had some interesting thoughts on the election this year, and on the recession, and on Rod Blagojevich. :) And I think she would've been really happy about our Chicago relocation (regardless of the screwed up nature of Illinois politics...).

So I thought I would post my Aimee poem again, since it's been a while since even I'VE read it. :) This is what's called a "sestina" poem, and it's kind of an unusual form -- I'd never even heard of a sestina until I took a poetry class several years ago. It's a poem that is comprised of six stanzas of six lines each, and the lines of each stanza end in one of six "end words" – one of the six end words are at the end of every line of every stanza, just in a different order each time. The last word of the last line in each stanza is the last word in the FIRST line of the next stanza. So in my poem, the end words are Aimee, years, New Orleans, dad, sister and you. Every line in the poem ends with one of these words, with the exception of the three line coda at the end -- two of the end words are used in each line, but they can be anywhere in the line. And the entire thing is written in iambic pentameter, so there are five beats, or accents, per line. Whew... it's probably the most complicated poetic form I've ever heard of... or at least it SOUNDS complicated when I try to explain it. :)

Poetry haters may stop reading now... :) Here ya go:


For My Sister


This is for you, my sweet sister Aimee.
We didn’t know you for twenty-nine years;
About your love of music and New Orleans;
Or how you have the same eyes as our dad.
My whole life I wanted a sister;
But three years was not enough to spend with you.

I remember when I first met you:
“This is her – this is Aimee!”
You hugged your dad, your brother and your sister,
Amazed you’d found us after all those years.
You couldn’t wait to call our father “dad,”
And tell us all about beloved New Orleans.

And yet you lived in Portland, not New Orleans;
The city was a kind of dream for you;
A place you talked about with me or dad.
“You really want to go back some day, Aimee?”
We all assumed it would take several years,
But I also assumed I would never find my sister.

How was I to know that my sister
Was traveling from Europe to New Orleans
While I spent all my high school years
Barely lending any thoughts to you?
I knew this much: I knew your name was Aimee.
I knew your absence left a void in dad.

Remember all the photos you sent dad?
You, an “only” child, without a sister;
Changed your name from Amy to Aimee.
Pictures of the old house in New Orleans,
Blurry and wonderful pictures of you.
To show us what we’d missed in all those years.

How do we get them back, the lost years?
How am I supposed to console dad?
Twice in your thirty-two years he lost you.
You left behind your new brother and sister.
I didn’t want to go to New Orleans,
Not without you next to me, Aimee.

Dad didn’t know the years would go so fast.
When you died, we buried you in New Orleans.
Back home at last, my sweet sister Aimee.

4 comments:

Georgie B said...

Wonderful poem.

And though I may be a "poetry hater", I can still appreciate the ones that I come across every now and then.

Always keep that memory alive.

Lisa said...

Thank you, Georgie! I'm not usually much of a poetry WRITER, myself, but I will occasionally attempt it. :)

Jannie said...

That is so beautiful, Lisa.

And sorry I have not been over in a while, just a bit of a hectic time of year, as you are well aware of, I'm sure.

I have been thinkinig about you of course and how you had only 3 years with Aimee, but with a sister you thought you would never even find.

Thanks for the lovely link too.

And of course, I prefer non-rhyming peotry, rhymes are more for songs, thinks I.

Lisa said...

Thank you, Jannie!

Yes, things certainly do have a way of getting crazy this time of year, don't they? :)

I prefer non-rhyming poetry, too... it's hard to write a poem that rhymes without it sounding like it belongs in a Dr. Seuss book... :)