Sestina for a Seeker of the Prism's Course

by Iain James Robb

Did Isaac see, his mirror in the fronds

Of apple-orbs that let their ripeness stay

No more than supplication of the wands

The sweet tornados in one drizzle's wings betray?

The tree that greets them is not ruled by iron bands

Whose light's lines were not brindled by this ray


That scoops all usual apple-carts. If ray

Or life-unreigned Fall forfeits for the friends

Of cirrus-windows, be within our bands

Our wonted freedom or accepted stay-

‘Tis only unacceptants those betray…

Dark glitterings of the glamour of Thor's wands.


The colour-vortex shuttles and absconds

All conflict in its love for temperate fray:

No mirror of our temperants that betray

The ache submerged below their feathers' fronds.

Yet, Newton, from your lapis window, stay

Within that land that rules by cyan bands.


I saw a couple once whose withdrawn hands

Were helden by the conches of the condes-

The earls of the air that nary stray

From distance — just the perfect tropes defray

The tones that join as distant as due friends,

The green and red of either, and betray


Contrasting clothes of both as neither's grey,

And once again dismissively hold hands;

All others, yet pretend to stalk as friends,

In company with the atoms of your bonds.

The prism only lingers through your fray,

Accepted denizen of manured lawns and stray


Of hanging garden, turner and the tray

That platters star-length: white and dark are never grey

As life is: but devolve ourselves from fray,

Though shore and sea-weep hold much closer hands…

Content then to revolve against our bands,

Unenvious of the garnet apple's bonds.


I too have bonds to take my place and stray;

Though light has been unbanded from my hands,

The grate of fraying place is great and grey...


By which I brand the shallows, at my hands.