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25 August 2004 @ 12:00 am
Neil Gaiman - Vampire Sestina  
Neil Gaiman is a genius.
I think I've mentioned this before.

Anyway, we're writing Sestinas for poetry class, and sinisterglint mentioned the Vampire Sestina by Neil Gaiman.

It is one of the best poems I have ever read.
It has emotion, it has narrative, it's a love poem, it's from the perspective of a vampire.
It's a Sestina.
What more can you ask from a poem?

I'm still working on my own Sestina.
Sadly, it's not about a vampire.

Vampire Sestina

I wait here at the boundaries of dream,
all shadow-wrapped. The dark air tastes of night,
so cold and crisp, and I wait for my love.
The moon has bleached the color from her stone.
She'll come, and then we'll stalk this pretty world
alive to darkness and the tang of blood.

It is a lonely game, the quest for blood,
but still, a body's got the right to dream
and I'd not give it up for all the world.
The moon has leeched the darkness from the night.
I stand in shadows, staring at her stone:
Undead, my lover . . . O, undead my love?

I dreamt you while I slept today and love
meant more to me than life -- meant more than blood.
The sunlight sought me, deep beneath my stone,
more dead than any corpse but still a-dream
until I woke as vapor into night
and sunset forced me out into the world.

For many centuries I've walked the world
dispensing something that resembled love --
a stolen kiss, then back into the night
contented by the life and by the blood.
And come the morning I was just a dream,
cold body chilling underneath a stone.

I said I would not hurt you. Am I stone
to leave you prey to time and to the world?
I offered you a truth beyond your dreams
while all you had to offer was your love.
I told you not to worry and that blood
tastes sweeter on the wing and late at night.

Sometimes my lovers rise to walk the night . . .
Sometimes they lie, cold corpse beneath a stone,
and never know the joys of bed and blood,
of walking through the shadows of the world;
instead they rot to maggots. O my love
they whispered you had risen, in my dream.

I've waited by your stone for half the night
but you won't leave your dream to hunt for blood.
Good night, my love. I offered you the world.
Mr Sinisterglintsinisterglint on August 24th, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC)
Started writing my sestina last night. And by 'started writing my sestina' I mean 'sat down at computer; drank tea; typed out the end-words I'd chosen; drank more tea; tried a couple of lines about H.R. Giger; tried lines about suicide; stared at screen; chucked it in and went to bed'.

Glad you liked the poem.
Jacobyak_boy on August 24th, 2004 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Teeth
I finished mine.
Not to gloat.

I used enjambment between stanzas, so it reads very prosey.

I have misplaced your e-mail address, but if you let me know what it is, I'll send you a copy to peruse.
Mr Sinisterglintsinisterglint on August 24th, 2004 08:41 pm (UTC)
I've sent my details to your LiveJournal account.
Robet Éivaayvah on August 25th, 2004 11:50 pm (UTC)
Ah. Yes, I read this poem. I guess that your praise for it proves that I have no understanding of poetry. I dislike the concept of the sestina.
Jacob: madnessyak_boy on August 26th, 2004 05:01 am (UTC)
Well, it's no 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep', but I think it's a pretty good poem.

But, seriously, I think this is an example of a sestina done really well. It has narrative, the repetition fades into the text pretty well, it uses evocative language and imagery, it's in iambic pentameter and it has a twist in the tail.

What more could you want?

Say "rhyme".
I dare you.
Robet Éivaayvah on August 26th, 2004 09:29 pm (UTC)
Like I said. I'm not exactly into poetry. But I dislike the repetition. I find it annoying.

I completely understand that Neil Gaiman wrote a very good sestina, and it was definitely interesting enough for me to read it in his book, but that doesn't mean that I should praise the sestina format.

Is there such a thing as an "octina"?
Jacobyak_boy on August 27th, 2004 05:38 am (UTC)
Not that I know of.
Robet Éivaayvah on August 27th, 2004 07:05 pm (UTC)
Maybe you should invent it!