The Castle Within–dVerse OLN

Earthen Lamp–Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

The Castle Within
A Sestina
Revised 7/25/19

The Soul
Journey to a place that’s sacred,
travel above, below, within.
I walk a path of emptiness
not knowing who it is I seek.
Clouds catch colors that fill the sky
casting reflections on pure water.

Naked, submerged in fetid water,
utter words, evoke the sacred,
brandish ideas across the sky,
soak in lies that stir within
not knowing what it is you seek
embracing only emptiness.

not understanding emptiness,
your thirst ne’er quenched by stagnant water
you do not know the source you seek
cathedrals, temples, though deemed sacred
cannot answer those doubts within
though spires stretch, they reach not sky.

Drowned in mystery—above, the sky.
Below—a trough of emptiness
that murkiness you find within.
Troubled tempest of primal water
envelops all that you hold sacred,
eludes the meaning that you seek.

What is it, soul, that you seek?
To know who lies beyond the sky?
To touch the silk of all that’s sacred?
To fill the void of emptiness?
Blissful, to float in limpid water?
To satisfy yearnings within?

The Soul
Satan, begone, for here within
the castle of my soul I seek
not to probe the depth of water,
nor soar to crystal heights of sky.
You tempt, betray my emptiness,
eschew the gifts that I hold sacred.

Love Speaks
Your emptiness has birthed the sacred,
immersed in water—filled within
because you seek, you touch the sky.

(Based on the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.)

I rewrote this 2011 poem for dVerse Open Link Night, paying more attention to the form–a Sestina with an attempt at iambic tetrameter.

13 thoughts on “The Castle Within–dVerse OLN

  1. Brilliant sestina, Victoria. I love the break of separate sections, and the poignancy.


  2. Lona Gynt says:

    Thank you for your Spirit, Friend.
    Lovely poem. It moved me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lona Gynt says:

    Those that hunger,
    Are filled.
    Those that are empty,
    Those who love,
    Will Empty.
    Those who are pilgrims
    Are Stilled.
    Our pride is not pulled down
    But dissipates
    Where all contemplatives
    Hear that voice
    Nothing is lost
    So nothing is found
    But love’s reach
    And sound
    The only

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lillian says:

    What I find most amazing about this is the multiple descriptors of water and how they progress through and change as the poem moves from soul to statan to soul and love.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Grace says:

    An amazing sestina Victoria, wow! I hope I am able to do one next. Thank you for this example.


  6. I love this so much! Great job, and it makes me happy that you were inspired by Saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. 🙂


  7. Bryan Ens says:

    I love how your sestina has different voices to tell the story of seeking God/temptation/eventual triumph of God (love personified) over Satan. Brilliant use of a most challenging poetic form (not to mention a challenging topic! )


  8. robtkistner says:

    This was a captivating read Victoria. Thank you for sharing it for OLN,


  9. rothpoetry says:

    I love your conversations that searching finally brings love into the picture!


  10. erbiage says:

    Victoria, there is such depth in this. you almost lost me in the middle there, (lead me not into temptation, i can find it myself!lol) the questioning, that longing, that searching is so poingiant and relatable, and the affirmation at the end so strong, and finally Love can be heard. brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

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