Paranoia – Sestina


Reflections show a shattered withered life,
while peering through suspicious sleepless tears.
Dark hopes of white lines chase false fears –
relieving pains the mornings always give.
Nonchalant lies brings forth abandoned trust –
confusing love, so run fast as you can.
Hands trembling, unable to pop a beer can;
aware this has become part of that life.
Internal voices shouting words to trust –
imagined visions haunt spent salty tears.
Neglecting life for thrills the sharp points give,
forgetting all those secret doubts and fears.
Another day presents recurring fears;
play trickery on you because they can.
Insanely living – nothing seems to give. 
Surreal surprise to your short precious life;
not hearing pleas from loved one’s painful tears,
’cause there is no one you would ever trust.
Saliva aliens hold you in trust –
to scare away unwanted mental fears;
which breaks you down and brings forth screaming tears.
Are you aware the only one who can
save you from paranoid unnerving life:
do you know any one whose love would give?
There comes a time that something has to give,
perhaps your inability to trust.
You see small men in trees critique your life,
awake the darkest nightmares of your fears.
Go ahead, do all the white lines you can –
burn mucus raw – enough to bring on tears.
Disjointed twisted thoughts allow dry tears  
to flow,  deflect the sympathy I give.-
Detox the brain – but ponder if you can;
which voice in your head do you truly trust?
Sweat dripping off your brow – all due to fears,
encroaching your space, a disrupted life.
Your paranoia tears can darken life.
Give time a chance to heal invented fears;
if you can, change your life, believe in trust.
☮TheMsLvh © 2011
 submitted to d’Verse – Poets United
painting by MariaBurd
 For A. & M.

Sestinas are a poetic tour-de-force which takes skill to create and a subtle ear for the sound of language to keep from seeming contrived or stilted.The sestina repeats the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, and then ends in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though traditionally a sestina is set in iambic pentameter.

7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

The envoi, sometimes known as the tornada, must also include the remaining three end-words, BDF, in the course of the three lines so that all six recurring words appear in the final three lines. In place of a rhyme scheme, the sestina relies on end-word repetition to effect a sort of rhyme.

This information was found at

Creative Commons License
California Ink In Motion by TheMsLvh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

  1. August 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    the small men in trees critique your life…you had me with this image..really like this
    and woo-hoo for approaching the sestina, not an easy task for sure…ya know…i’m not yet brave all the more..hat off..

    • August 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Claudia, this proved to be a very intense challange. Using iambic pentameter in such a long form poem was interesting to say the least. I hope it read well, though the subject is a bit harsh. It is a reality for some, unfortunately.

  2. August 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Love the ending “believe in trust” great write for the prompt

    • August 27, 2011 at 7:04 am

      That is what it is all about, trust. Thanks for the comment and takig the time to read such a long sestina. I was not aware how long these forms are.

  3. August 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Interesting sestina.

    • August 27, 2011 at 7:03 am

      I do write interesting things. Thanks for the visit and comment.

  4. August 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Nice sestina form and with using the iambic pentameter in all the verses… hands off to you. I didn’t concentrate on keeping the same meter given the time constraints but you did well here with the dark paranoia theme.

    Your last three lines nicely sums up this post; great job ~

    This paranoia only darkens life;
    if you can see past your invented fears;
    don’t give in, shed your tears, believe in trust.

    • August 27, 2011 at 7:02 am

      Thank you Heaven. It proved to be a bit more of a challange than I originally thought. Yes, a dark poem, but I have seen this first hand, tougher to watch than write about. Thank you for your visit and comment.

  5. August 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    You are brave to tackle such a difficult form – one I still dont seem to be able to grasp.
    A difficult topic also, yet certainly a current one, with so many lives derailed and destroyed by drugs. You wrote this admirably, and skilfully. Great job.

    • August 27, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Sherry, both the sestina and topic were a challange. You are right on when you say derailled. Thanks for your continued support. Almost did not post this.

  6. August 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    First off, have you posted the link to your interview at Poets United? Do so, because it was a wonderful exchange between Sherry, one of my oldest PoetrE-Friends, and you, whose poetry is bursting with energy. Also, your command of forms never ceases to amaze me!

    There were so many touch points for me in this poem, having been an unrepentant boozer and drugger in my 20s. You describe the down side so well- “burn the mucus” was spot on.

    Glad you ended on a hopeful note, because I am here to witness that one CAN get through the crap and come to a place of peace and fulfillment (well, the psychiatrist and therapist and great life partner help, too). Treatment is the only way out, usually, and I hope there is even ONE person who sees her/himself in this and says, “It’s time for a reality check.” Peace, Amy

  7. August 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Really excellent work here. As far as I can tell you toed the bar to the form (maybe a tiny fudge by putting 3 of your words in the last line of the envoy- but so what). This was nicely put together with the arching revelation of drug induced fear bordering on outright insanity.
    Good use of language throughout and yielding and fluid and important poem. Well done. G.

    • August 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      The envoi IS SUPPOSED TO use all six words, usually in the order of the first stanza..

  8. August 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Tough read, terribly sad. Well done with a painful envoi.

  9. August 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    This has to be the most difficult form you’ve used, and you did it proud. I have four stanzas done of mine and have painted myself into a corner.

    • August 27, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Yes. I realy tried not to repeat the same thought. Don’t know if I will do this sestina again. I lke sonnets. Easier IMHO

  10. August 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Luv the art. ANd in the midst of darkend flow is a light of hope. I hear the sincerity and pleading in your voice to reach your reader. Great job with content and the form.

    • August 27, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Thanks Henry!! I was concerned it woud not read well. Thank you for your comment!

  11. August 27, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Great job with the form! content quite powerful. enjoyed this very much.

    • August 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Thank you so very much Christi for your visit and comment. I thought I needed a powerful theme to go with such a long poem form. Thanks again!

  12. August 27, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I so totally love relevant art with posts, yours is a really spooky and ghost like path with both posted together. I guess if the truth be admitted everyone can empathize with the phases of an addiction for a moment on one level or another. To get it all you have to say placed in a disciplined Sestina is a power I hope to acquire someday. Or any true form someday.

    • August 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

      Sharon, after I wrote this sestina, I was lucky to find the art I attached to it. I was amazed to see the aliens in the picture. That picture speaks volumes. Thank you for your insightful comment and visit.

  13. August 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

    like the uplifitng message you leave us with and hope to see past it…this has some nice grit to it…and good grip on the emo…

    • August 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Brian, I was afraid it had too much grit. So happy to hear you appreicated this sestina. Thank you for your comment and visit!

  14. Laurie Kolp
    August 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Great sestina… I really like the fifth stanza and tercet. Thanks for the hope.

  15. August 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    This is a powerful sestina, well-executed, in response to a haunting image and most difficult topic. You really brought me into the experience. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. Working with the dying has been a huge blessing in my life and I’m grateful to have been called to it.

    • August 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you! I appreicate you reading such a long poetic form. Yes! When I discovered you were a Hospice nurse, my love and respect for you had to be mentioned.

  16. August 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I really like the concept, paranoia, which you chose. The poem was intriguing to read as it vividly describes the confusion and fear. I also like how you ended it with a more optimistic note. Very much enjoyed.

  17. jen
    August 27, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I come away from this beautifully written sestina with my belief that we poets are cursed at times by what we see…. very beautifully done. xxxj

  18. August 28, 2011 at 10:34 am

    wow, amazing you took me to a past I have forgotten, yes they are hard to do, but they are fun, and musical, you did a great job to me any way, I like the midline changing, it captures the reader. Thank you, much appreciated, WS
    here is my second Sestina-

  19. August 28, 2011 at 10:50 am

    lol, I added the wrong Poem ,lol, Doh, lol I appologize, lol. here it is

    • August 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      John, Amazing sestina you wrote! Thank you for visiting. Always a pleasure to see you.

  20. August 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    delightful word choices, well done.

    • August 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you for your comment! Sestinas are a challange, I was leary about writing and posting it. Happy it read well for you.

  21. August 29, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Yes,we do have nothing to fear but fear itself! Powerful piece!

  22. August 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Quite the journey, this one. Well done.

    • August 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you for your visit. It is not a personal journey, it is one I have seen though. Reading this sestina is a journey in itself. Thank you for your comment.

  23. August 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Wow powerful writing. Gut wrenching. I applaud your ability to stick to a format such as this sestina. Thank you for sharing and letting these emotions out of the box.

    • August 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Derek, Yes, this sestina was a project. I had never experienced the weaving as I did with writing a sestina. Thanks for stopping by..

  24. August 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    The building sense of impending self-destruction is so vivid here, disturbing even. I loved the use of form here. I think it’s time I try a sestina of my own. Great piece!

    • August 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Gene, provoking a feeling is poetry for me. I am glad you felt it. Thank you for your comment and visit.

  25. August 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Wow! That really must have been a tough write, but you’ve done the Sestina superbly, and not on an easy subject for the form. I applaud your poignancy too! Fantastic :-)

    • August 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm

      Ah Pervagus, it was a challange to say the least. Thank you for your visit. Always Welcomed!

  26. August 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I admire the way you’ll tackle anything that comes up. Bravo. I loved the word “Detox” in the context of the brain, and you have found some powerful images.

    • August 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      Viv, I do seem to get mself into topics that are interesting. I now know the envoi is suppose to use all six words in the order of the first stanza. I did not realize that when I wrote this. This was my first sestina. I got the six words, just not in the proper order. Thank you for pointing that out to me. LOVE when you comment! You are guiding light!

  27. August 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    so, is it paranoia, or are they really all lying? i think they are just a big bunch of mendacious, conniving, evil power hungry…..grrrrrr

  28. August 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Nice one with the sestina.


  29. September 1, 2011 at 1:11 am

    This conjured up the image of somebody who had so much potential but lost their way through alcohol and drug abuse, looking for somebody to help them out, not realising that they have to help themselves.

    I really loved this part

    “You see small men in trees critique your life,
    awake the darkest nightmares of your fears.
    Go ahead, do all the white lines you can” – Brilliant read

    • September 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

      OldStrong, thank you for highlighting that line. It is a position I have never been in, but it is scary when seen.

  30. September 1, 2011 at 5:26 am

    I like what you’ve done here. Reminds me of another life I used to live. Thanks for the memory.

  31. September 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Hmmmmmmmm – thought i’d already commented on this – but not. I tried to write a sestina – they are incredibly difficult, and this flows really well. Like the subject and the art that goes with it. Gives it that extra punch.

  32. September 2, 2011 at 8:17 am

    It is your determination to succeed at this inspires me so much. I am not learned, the technical requirements of the sestina are beyond me but they are not necessary for me to be moved by your poem, to be impacted by your message.

    In that respect, you have done the Poet’s work. And in the end, isn’t that what this is all about?


    • September 2, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Jeff, Your comment hits me right in the heart. I want my poetry to impact, inspire, and be thought provoking. Your visits are always welcomed!

  33. September 2, 2011 at 9:33 am

    A powerful poem causing one to dig deep into the psyche. Very well written!

  34. September 4, 2011 at 5:28 am

    A powerful write, sad and well expressed. I love the artwork you’ve chosen. A powerful last stanza. Well written :)

  35. Ina
    September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I love this sestina and the rhythm it is in, very well done!

  36. September 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    allow dry tears to flow… very moving sestina, deep

  37. September 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you everyone for your comments and taking the time to read this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  38. September 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    So glad you posted this again. It’s an excellent work, with an excellent message so brilliantly summed in the envoy. All the more powerful, I believe, by your adherence to the meter and form. You have an abundance of talent. Thanks for taking on this form and linking. G.

  39. hedgewitch
    September 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Many excellent and telling images in this, and you managed to enject a note of incoherence and fear into it, which is hard in such a structured style. Good job on the execution, and a sad but worthwhile read as well.

  40. September 26, 2011 at 1:04 am


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