For those of you unfamiliar, a sestina is a particular type of poem dating back to the 12th century that follows a strict formal pattern. In crafting a sestina, the poet chooses six words, called telutons. These words appear at the end of each line in the first stanza, and they repeat as end words throughout the poem for six, six-line stanzas. The poem concludes with a stanza, called an envoi, of just two lines in which all six words appear again. The pattern is typically as follows:
7. (envoi) BED CFA
In some modern sestinas, poets may bend the rules just slightly by using homonyms, as you'll see in my poem with the substitution of "our" for "hour" or my use of "less" in compound words such as "aimless" and "soundless." While I am generally not a formal poet, sestinas are a form that has fascinated me for years. I find it an enjoyable challenge, and in a pile of disastrous attempts, I have produced a few sestinas I am proud of this. "Astronomical Sestina" is the greatest of them, and I am glad it has found a home.