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Island Sestina by Kathleen Firestone
inspired by South Fox Island*
There's something magical about an island.
No other meets the feeling, quite serene,
of walking on a quiet beach of white sand
and skipping stones across the liquid blue.
The solitude is seen in wandering footprints
and heard in whispering leaves of nearby trees.

The kingbird and the bluebird perched in song trees
bring music to the silence of the island,
and chipmunks on the ground leave tiny footprints.
The flight of gulls above is so serene.
The flowers in the meadow, bells of soft blue,
and daisies spring up sweetly from the sand.

The dune is but a mountain made of beach sand.
Its borders are made green with cedar trees.
The green appears more bright against the sky's blue
to compliment dune's bleakness on the island.
The dune crest, place for resting, so serene,
gives way in gentle servitude to footprints.

A blowout in the dune is crossed by footprints.
One dancing in delight across the sand
falls silently to sand and rests serene
beside decaying trunks of cedar trees
and feels the peace of being on an island,
while gazing up at skies of brilliant blue.

The dune slopes down to meet the water's blue.
The water fills small craters left by footprints.
Footprints trace the border of the island,
leaving peaceful stride marks in the sand;
and inland from the beach, the whispering trees
still sing a gently melody, serene.

Is there a place on earth that's more serene?
A place where there's no cause for feeling blue?
If they could speak, these solid, stately trees,
of past explorers who have left their footprints,
what messages would they write in the sand,
of solitude discovered on an island?

The mood of peace serene is left by footprints.
The water, tranquil blue, caresses sand,
as songs from whispering trees praise such an island.

*A sestina is a form of poetry with very strict rules. There are six stanzas, each with six lines. Each line ends with one of six selected words; these words are repeated at the end of the other sentences and must be placed in a particular order. The finale is three lines, repeating the six words, and the six words must appear in designated order.

Island Sestina was written in 1988 and copyrighted in 1991 by Kathleen Firestone and appears in the upcoming The Fox Islands: North and South by Kathleen Craker Firestone.

The Whaleback Inn--1-800-WHALEBACK

Links From This Article
Words on the Water: Maggie Figgis VOICES: Gwen Foor
December Morning: James Mitchell Ripening: Duncan Sprattmoran

Though we are as yet unable to pay for them, the Northern Michigan Journal welcomes your poetry submissions. Please e-mail in plain text format to If you have a home page or any biographical information, please include that as well.
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