Fishing Floats – a sestina

We had to write a Sestina in our poetry class, which was quite an ordeal. I don’t much care for writing forms, because they tend to feel forced. But I think this one turned out ok:

Fishing Floats
February 4, 2008

One from Paris, one from Seoul,
one from down in the Keys,
these strange glass globes,
once buoyed up a net on the waves,
but now find another life,
looking for an appropriate metaphor.

But I can’t find the metaphor.
I search deep in my soul
for the meaning of life
revealed by some mysterious key
brought to me over the waves
by a small fishing globe.

Around the globe
men ply their trade, without metaphor,
on the choppy waves.
Sustaining their body, not their soul,
seems to be the key
to these spheres – for life

requires work, and work gives life.
Each of these beautiful globes
were once the key
to a man’s work. That’s the metaphor,
I suppose. A man’s soul
bobbing on the waves.

And, of course, the wave
represents the storms of life,
which blow through our souls,
wherever on the globe
we live. But, by then, the metaphor
has been stretched beyond that key

point at which the Keys
are forgotten beneath the waves,
and the overtaxed metaphor
loses its tenuous grip on life.
On the far side of the globe
on the banks of the Han in Seoul

a fisherman knows that the key to life
is to keep casting the globes on the waves,
not pursuing strange metaphors for his soul.