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Statistics are terrible, we all agree,
Thousands, even millions, annually
Lose their lives to abuse and slavery...
    (From "We Agree", a recent work of mine that can currently only be seen on this site.)
                    >^.Karl!
The Loss of Innocence

This is a Sestina that I wrote, adapting and enlarging upon the six line poem
that I had written as an epigraph to the "We Agree" page on this website.

So that you can better appreciate it, I would like to explain that a Sestina is an
archaic poetry form that was developed by troubadours in the Provencal region
between Italy and France during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries A.D.

It is composed of six stanzas of six lines each and an envoi of three lines. 
The final words of the six lines of the first stanza are repeated as the final words
of the succeeding stanzas, but in different order.  In the three line envoi, three of
the words are repeated at the midpoint of each line and the other three are
repeated at the end of the lines.

I have never seen a rhyming sestina, but I have written one! 
That made it's creation even more difficult! 

I leave it to the reader to decide whether or not I have achieved the most difficult
part in that I have managed to make it read easily without any part of it seeming to
be awkward or forced in order to accommodate the form or  the rhyme scheme...

Beyond that, the subject of the poem comes from my own actual experience in
New Orleans - an empathic encounter that made me experience the pain that I
perceived to lie behind those eyes...

*******************************************************************************************************


The Loss of Innocence
- A Sestina by Karl Stuart Kline (2006)
 
Did you ever see a young girl with an old woman’s eyes?
Where her happiness is a thing of the past (if ever...),
Too soon she’s endured life’s burdens and become sadly wise,
An old stone with the brightness of youth eddying ‘round her.
She’s lost her childhood – Her life is caught in a web of lies –
Trapped and a victim, she has lost all of childhood’s wonder
 
Childhood’s precious and once youth is lost, it’s gone forever.
The girl I saw was much too young to be so worldly wise,
To know so soon that those she loved would only betray her,
Once an innocent with no defense for their easy lies,
A trusting soul who’s another victim left to wonder
Why those glib deceits didn’t show in their faces or their eyes.
 
Wisdom gained is the heart’s refrain, victimized by those lies,
Mourning the death of innocence, sadly gone forever,
When the pain was unexpected, it brought tears to her eyes.
Her captors rejoiced in her tears, leaving her to wonder
Why she was so gullible and could have been so unwise
As to believe their lies, so that’s the end of tears for her.
 
She coldly swore she’d never cry again!  No, not ever!
Never again would her tears give pleasure to sadist’s eyes!
Try as they might, they’d never wring another tear from her!
It’s at too high a cost that she’d become so early wise
And her cold silence would only leave them all to wonder
How it is that she’s no longer accepting of their lies.
 
New Orleans’ streets are where I saw this girl with eyes so wise,
But I could also see that any hope was lost to her,
Trapped as she was, with no escape from other people’s lies
Hard as marble, her gaze had no feeling whatsoever,
Not even sadness, since that would be weakness in her eyes.
As for what this might do to her, I can only wonder
 
How, spider like, something or someone has done this to her,
Luring innocent young girls with a web of clever lies
Quickly spun about them, giving them no chance to wonder
If those things they are “persuaded” to do are really wise.
For those who’d entrap her, truth is not an option – ever!
Snared by their lies, optimism’s extinguished from her eyes.
 
Once a beautiful child, with her youth shining from her eyes,
She had no thought that she’d ever become so sadly wise,
Losing childhood’s wonder, battered by a world full of lies.