Repetition replaces rhyme

Sam holds the sibling mourning dove shells.

When I was walking Willow this morning, I found an “empty” mourning dove eggshell and brought it home. I told Sam about it when I picked him up after Track this evening. He said, “Oh, I saw it on my way to the bus this morning.” When we got to our neighborhood, he asked me to pull over. He got out of the car and retrieved “his” shell. When we got to our backyard, I showed him “my” shell. I’m pretty sure they are sibling shells.

I decided to write a sestina about the mourning dove massacre. A sestina is six stanzas with six lines followed by a 7th three-line stanza. Instead of rhyming, the last words of each stanza are repeated uniquely in the following stanza. The concluding stanza has to incorporate all six words in three lines. Iambic pentameter and repetition replaces rhyme in this kind of poem and the effect is supposed to be soothing and haunting. I’ll admit I got a little “creative” with the iambs.

Good Mourning
Mr. Grackle broke and entered the nest
and the unborn doves never had a chance.
He ate the sleeping siblings for breakfast.
They say it's part of the life cycle
but it makes me sad for Mother Nature
though i'm not the only one in mourning

When the unborn doves were asleep in their nest
they had recurring dreams about eternal mourning.
Father felt them trembling beneath him at breakfast
while mother stole seeds scattered by wind's chance.
When she flew back he told her about the eggs' nature
and they both smiled and said this was a good cycle.

Predators won't accept birdseed for breakfast.
They say it goes against their nature
so they watch over someone else's nest
and secretly wait for their chance
to remind the world they're not morning doves, they're mourning
their doves, forever swept away in a gluttonous cycle.

One month later she laid another two eggs after breakfast.
This time they are leaving nothing to chance.
Father added a fresh border of twigs around the nest, 
says it will protect them from the evils of nature.
He's feeling confident about this new cycle
but mother still spends her mornings mourning.

This morning the garbage trucks made their clamorous cycle
through the neighborhood, waking them up before breakfast.
She swears she'll poop on their heads when she gets the chance.
He smiles because he knows that's not in her nature;
her feathers ruffle but she's not going to leave that nest
until her world is filled with the coos of two new doves mourning 

She's cranky because this is a frigid spring cycle.
Every morning they wake up to snow and ice in their nest
and neither of them want to go get breakfast
but she knows she needs it and being healthy is her only chance
to fulfill her true calling, her true nature
until then she is truly mourning, truly mourning... 

Morning, she says, will never come. This is a terrible cycle!
She is tired and sore and he is bargaining with Mother Nature.
Please, he begs the goddess, give us another chance!
Let them live and I'll never skip breakfast
again and I'll always protect the nest.
Please protect us from eternal mourning.

Night cycles into morning and guess who is in the nest?
Little doves with mouths wide open expressing their mournful nature
Mother and Father say it's time for family breakfast

If you’re not up for a sestina, there are some shorties below that I wrote in between my parent-teacher conferences.

An untitled tanka.

the teachers and i
talked on the phone to discuss
my kids' potential
for achieving true success --
or were we just killing time?
An untitled haiku.

free education's
a constitutional right
fourteenth amendment

An untitled senryu.

constitution says
a free education is
yours for mis-taking
Here's a tanka about some (bad) advice I was given about how my kids should stay and 'give back' to Rockford. 

Give Back
who benefits most
when the next generation
never leaves home and
lives a manufactured life
cut from someone else's dreams 

Here's a tanka about a local scholarship called The Rockford Promise.

A Promise or a Threat
Rockford promises 
kids who maintain a three-point-
oh! free tuition!
if they matriculate at
a local institution

Thanks for reading! Did I mention it’s National Poetry Month? -Connie

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