Do the Envoy First

The problem with most attempts at writing sestinas is that few people ever get to reach the envoy. Doing it first accomplishes three things:

1. You'll have an envoy.

2. You'll have a sense of direction (what you have to achieve in the poem and where you will have to end).

3. You'll have the scheme of the poem (where you will place each end word in each stanza of the sestina).

Using my end words, I came up with this envoy:

She walks on mist, not water, as she heals

Mortality. The tale at the resort,

When she appears, is: Make your peace at Lourdes.

Because I was writing a traditional sestina, the envoy (ECA) dictates that "walks," "tale" and "appears" (BDF) will fall within each line, respectively. According to the scheme, these words also will be the end words of my second, fourth and sixth lines of the first stanza, respectively. And the words "heals," "resort" and "Lourdes" will be the end words of my fifth, third and first lines of the first stanza, respectively.

But it wasn't time to compose yet.

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