We used to watch the sunset on the lake
while drinking tea as daylight turned to dusk,
bougainvillea above our heads still
dancing pink against the darkening blue
and, flying fast against the fading light
returning to its tree - a fish eagle.
Each day the haunting calls of the eagle
echoed from shire to shore across the lake.
A heavy bird, in flight it seemed so light
as it hunted for fish from dawn to dusk
moving quickly against the sky of blue
and diving in the lake so clear and still.
As the big bird passed we would sit quite still
awestruck by the grace of the fish eagle.
Sometimes we would walk in the evening blue
to look for other birds around the lake -
the weaver birds displaying until dusk
their wingtips fluttering in the fading light.
Sometimes we would see the flickering lights
of fishing boats floating on the lake, still
and motionless in the gathering dusk,
competing for food with the fish eagle.
The fishermen shouted across the lake,
the football scores echoing in the blue.
Once I sat on the beach, feeling quite blue
and watched the fireflies glimmering with light
as they gathered by the side of the lake.
I began to feel so peaceful and still -
above my head the call of the eagle
heralded another gathering dusk.
I left the beach to get home before dusk,
saw a kingfisher with its flash of blue
(a much smaller bird than the fish eagle)
startlingly bright in the pale evening light -
the colour stayed in my mind's eye as still
I walked to my house with views of the lake.
I heard the eagle call above the lake-
in the blue evening the world felt so still
and in deepening dusk my heart became light.
Unleash the Poem Within recommends using the sestina to explore memory.
Read Write Poem this week asks us to play about with form, using one form to rewrite a poem that was originally in another form. This poem, my first attempt at a sestina, is sort of a reworking of After Sunset, Lake Malawi.