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Sport 35: Winter 2007

Cath Vidler — Haunted sestina

page 204

Cath Vidler

Haunted sestina

Haunted sestina beckons but offers no exit.
Spooky how a line can be so like a corridor,
words a conservatory of cobwebs,
rhythm a heartbeat knocking at the door.
The dining room table is long and dusty, its party
ages like a portrait, and isn't it spooky

how the grandfather clock has a voice, spooky
how poems don't always let you leave, the exit
drowned out by the organ's merry waltz, the party
dancing down an endless corridor,
obscuring the door,
the attic window blinded by cobwebs.

Where have all the spiders gone? Cobwebs
hang in the air like a chill, like spooky
bouquets, they're crowding the door,
and where is the exit?
An unseen person cries down the corridor:
This poem is a hall of mirrors, a party

with no guest of honour, a party
littered with deceased meanings, cobwebs …
Candles burn their predictions into the wall, the corridor
grins with amusement, it's spooky
how paper alone can disable an exit
and whoever heard of a house with no door?

page 205

Ghosts cluster like metaphors, clouding the door,
the cellar is swollen with monstrous memories, the party
refrains from discussing the exit.
Madam unfetters her tresses of cobwebs,
her crystal ball swarms with allusions, it's spooky
how poems are traps made for unwary words, the corridor

echoes the rap of her fingers, the corridor
shakes like a terrified door.
Lightning flashes, the reading begins with a clap, so spooky,
dead poets are risen and felled. The party
collapses, the clock tolls thirteen, countless cobwebs
weave poetry over the exit:

Haunted sestina, a party of cobwebs,
Haunted sestina, no exit, no door,
Haunted sestina, spooky corridor.