FASHION (Sestina)


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15ème Concours Littéraire International du Cepal, 2015 - Mention d'Excellence


Layered fashion styled the centre that day;

while wind ransacked every nook in town,

my fingers mined deep within pockets in vain

for warmth, when a bare belly crossed my way.

Spellbound my eyes failed to see the face,

but the swagger proclaimed : Youth walks past!

All of a sudden from a distant past,

my mother’s voice brought back the day,

when against her authority I had set my face,

there among the mountains, far from town.

As winter lingered on, I tried to have my way,

with springdress, barelegged –silly and vain.

“This counsel, child, is not given in vain,

keep warm till snow has thawed well past

‘Little Roof’, the tavern up there, the gateway

between summit and plain where on a fine day

hosts from the battle-grounds of town

find peace under the mountain’s proud face.”

Her stern voice betrayed by a kindhearted face

to reason steered me and in the same vein

lectured about the temptations in town.

“Remember, she bid, always the past

and that my  words, however harsh this day

only wish that you fare well on your way.”

From my younger days back upon my way

and to the bold belly and juvenile face,

I turned my thoughts and to how today

good sense at the service of the vain

has values and lessons from the past

surrender to the latest fad in town.

In the maze of delights and tinsel in town,

a slippery ground to drift out of the way,

the future of novelty is spelled “past”.

Could a mountain’s commanding face,

I mused, still keep the fashion weather-vane

from turning with any foolish puff of the day.

Far from town, to preserve our face,

we had our way and other means to be vain,

so may the past rest, let's move on today.