Sestina for Easter

Six Key Words.

Dennis Carson has written this piece selecting six key words which might

capture the essence of the life, ministry and redeeming purpose of the

Son of God.

stable       son         cross      rise        star        lamb

These words are the “heroes” of a Sestina.

The full text is found by clicking Comment


Sestina for Easter.


Shepherds come in the night and find a stable

near an inn. They kneel in honour of this Son

of Mary. And wealthy eastern sages cross

deserts, pursuing in the heavens the rise

of a strangely bright, transforming star

that foretells a king, perhaps a Paschal lamb.



Then, after sanctuary in Egypt, the lamb

comes home to Nazareth and childhood in a stable

family, unaware of the import of the star

that marked his destiny os a carpenter’s son

soon to be baptised, and from Jordon’s waters rise

to a high priesthood and the agony of a cross.


Tested, by temptations in the wilderness, to cross

the divide that separates the unblemished lamb

from the wolves and the heady enticements that rise

from worldly power and influence.  Others, less stable

in their resolve, stumble and fall. Yet this son

of God remains obedient, refusing the star


billing offered by the tempter, declining the star

status before the crowd. He overcomes this cross

examination and begins a ministry that confirms son

ship with the Father.  Crowds flock to this humble lamb

of God.  Disciples, trusting him, become stable

companions, transfixed by miracles  that give rise


to speculation that the gentle Nazarene might rise

to liberate the Jewish nation; like a star

destined to lead rebellion. Yet a donkey from a stable

bears him to Jerusalem, betrayal , arrest and cross

questioning by priests and Pharisees. Thus the lamb,

despised, rejected, soon to be flogged, becomes the Son


of man, the all sufficient  sacrifice of the Son

of God. Pierced with nails, crucified; then to rise

from the tomb as Lord of all, the Paschal lamb

who redeems, restores, forgives; who shines like the star

of Bethlehem that foretold his kingship, passion and cross;

and led the first believers to the manger in a stable.


Thus the sacrificed Paschal lamb honours his natal star

as God’s only begotten Son, the saviour born to rise

from death on a cross: the infant king born in a stable.


Dennis Carson writes:

In preparing this piece I tried to select six key words which might

capture the essence of the life, ministry and redeeming purpose of the

Son of God.  The key words I chose were

stable       son         cross       rise        star        lamb


The challenge for me was to use these words as the “heroes” of a

Sestina. This is a disciplined poetic form consisting of a continuous

narrative laid out in six verses, each of which has six lines. The six key

words appear as the end words of the six lines of the first verse, and are

reused in a set pattern as the end words in each succeeding verse. Then

the final objective is to use all six key words as the backbone of a

concentrated three line summary.

“Sestina for Easter” is the outcome of my effort.   I hope that the

strict format might encourage readers to contemplate the meaning of the


Denis Carson