Double Sestina on Obama’s First Inauguration

Inaugural Double Sestina

Originally written on January 20, 2009

[I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I’m a poet.]

Responding to a Double Sestina challenge on FB, here’s my contribution, with snippets borrowed from “America the Beautiful.”


I Blessed

She believes in the power of shape,
red velvet in her hands, not the dark news.
She wishes for a cause, something to care
about; she looks for a hero.
She flushes at the sound of “Change,”
an eager pink wells across

her soft cheek; she waltzes across
party lines. Icons are not shapes
she can recognize. O but “Change” –
this motif, this pearl of news
has weight; it has a Hero.
So tenderly she lifts him, she caresses

his name, hugs him close, not a care
in the world disturbs her. She fixes his cross
above her bed, addresses her hero
prayerfully. His is a face and a shape
of biblical size and he is good news
long-awaited; he is the Change

that magnifies her living; change
that will right the world. She cares
deeply now, and all news is good news.
She watches his mouth as it moves across
the TV screen, waits for the shape
of that comely smile. This is what a hero

can do, what he does. The hero
is joy in the teeth, picture frame of change;
he is the master of invisible shape;
he removes grief, washes blood; his care
is a watershed pouring across
her wretched hope; the hero renews.

She will remember this day, this new
kindle of hope, when trust in heroes
came like a fire across
her brow. How wondrous this change,
this safe umbrella of care,
this resurrection taking shape.

Splashed across TV screen and news-
papers, the godly shape of the Hero,
our moniker of Change, takes one careful step forward.

II Sainted

Hope is a cross,
and the echo of change
hails our hero.
He ponders the knitted map of care
surrounding him; the path of news,
the precious passions. His mantle, the shape

of his vision, that bright shape
that flourishes across
the visor of a million eyes, this new
scene is his art. The color of change
is held in his nimble hands. But our care-
ful artist will not paint “hero”

for signature. He is wary of the hero’s
plight, the hubris that shapes
the demigod’s fall. Each word drawn with care,
stitch by stitch, the common “we” criscrosses
this pilgrim’s canvas of change.
Still, all the news

touts singularity: he is the news,
he is symbol and motif. He is the hero
we have waited for and change
is grace, this glory-tale. Its shape
is a clarion traveling across
music-hearted sea and fruited plain. Our cares

are the freedom beat, our cares
see beyond the years to good news.
Brothers and sisters lay their crosses
at the feet of our beautiful Hero.
His success is a noble shape,
and old souls wax fair at this change.

Across the wilderness, change
is the mural of the free, we care
bigger now, it’s a huge shape,
and the wilds of thought shun news
of strife and woe. We launch a hero
today! We prop his single body on that worn cross.

We have seen the shape of change.
We have nailed it across noble care and patriot dreams.
We know each new hero is a martyr in disguise.

~Add your two cents~

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