Sestina: April - George Elliott Clarke
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This poem is titled ‘Sestina: April’. It is a poem that follows the poetic form of the sestina.
After gods, we surrender to lovers,
Seeking beauty that always satisfies,
To revel in sunlit obscenities,
Every gay April, in the spring tumult,
To engage in creamy crimes —
An ivory music, as indestructible as sunlight.
Something there is about April that satisfies —
Even if one suffer physical obscenities
Like those that drive priests to tumult
And exultation in the filthiest crimes,
Those conducted far from sunlight
In those murky lairs reserved for lovers.
But holy are the bedtime obscenities
Where lover pitches lover to a tumult,
Spicing bland sins with sugary crimes,
In moonlight, dawn, and even April sunlight.
Thus, lovers actually behave like lovers,
Having each other until the other satisfies.
Nature, in April, floods in tumult:
Its white churn washes away crimes;
Its clarity is like water and sunlight,
The ideal assemblage for real lovers,
Who only turn away once love satisfies,
Once they have tasted joyous obscenities.
In April, the young commit no crimes,
But are as clean and honest as sunlight,
And love each other as blamelessly as lovers,
Discovering, like saints, the ways sin satisfies,
Excusing each other of any obscenities,
While each one milks a tidal tumult.
What is the month of love and sunlight?
Ask all those who play April lovers!
For thirty refreshing days, it satisfies,
All those poets of obscenities,
Who find passion a physical tumult,
And conceive kisses as delicious crimes.
Tell all the lovers that April satisfies,
That its obscenities mount a glorious tumult,
And that all its crimes dissolve to sunlight.
from Red (Gaspereau Press, 2011), © George Elliott Clarke 2011, used by permission of the author and the publisher.