A Sestina to the Bells by Steve Hosking

A Sestina to the Bells

I stand and sway in the air amongst the bells
My misshapen form caressed by heaven’s light
The city falls away; nothingness is queen
The spires in silent praise to the endless sky
The ground spread out below – it summons me home
The stone shifts below, enclosed in ancient dust

Am I alone, little more than future dust?
Crouching here, senses dulled by the ceaseless bells
Can it be here, I have found my long-sought home?
Transfigured, changed, by this ethereal light
Silhouetted here against the perfect sky
Darkened king, bereft of his elusive queen

I came upon her but once, my wondrous queen
As the people spat and crushed me in the dust
Just as my eyes dimmed and scarce perceived the sky
The ring of cries reminiscent of the bells
So far away, so detached from holy light
She enclosed my hand and somehow led me home

Her gentleness jarred against my barren home
No court; no majesty for this fallen queen
Her beauty bathed in radiance brilliant
Her vivacious life abhorrent to the dust
Comparable even to my subtle bells
Room enough for two beneath the virgin sky

But then they came; crawling up towards the sky
Invaders, intent upon my sacred home
I rang alarm, yet no-one answered the bells
Defenceless and unarmoured my lonely queen
As she lay asleep, amongst the saints and dust
I hurled them down; deaths ablaze with hallowed light

I failed. The pyre burns with dark, satanic light
The flames rise sharply, profane against the sky
My love, she cries out, her body turned to dust
No more, never more, can this place be my home
Now my virtuous and sacrilegious queen
Is lost and frozen; unfeeling as the bells

I saw him laugh by light, he who found my home
I gave him to the sky, to avenge my queen
I shall be dust, far from my beloved bells.

© 2017 Steve Hosking


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Bio: Steve Hosking is a teacher and writer based in the Midlands, UK. His work has mainly focused on short stories and novella so far, but he has recently branched out into poetry. ‘Sestina to the Bells’ is his first piece of poetry and he hopes you enjoy reading it as much as he enjoyed writing it. He is also working on two novels, one historical and one fantasy, that he hopes to complete by the Christmas 2017.


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