Here's a poem of a type called a sestina. It's a wonderful evocation of the character of a friend from my student days at Victoria University written by Penny, another of my university friends, a talented musician and literary fiend who lives in Melbourne.

Untitled by Penny R

He always liked to have a roaring fire
In winter. In the same room as the piano.
He'd slop the wine into his antique glasses
(Perched somewhere handy), while his dog
Ran riot all over the place, his slobbery teeth
Grabbing pillows, clothes, and bounding fast

Away, ignored by us - we would be playing fast
Our hands jumping over the keys as if they were on fire
(the keys, that is). Something to get our teeth
Into, we made that old piano
shake like hell, while his bloody dog
Ransacked the place, and knocked over glasses

(It wasn't always me who broke those glasses).
We would play as if we were in a race, so fast
So badly, such fun, while the dog
Ran around, and the fire
Sparked, and the piano
Vibrated. (He had trouble with his teeth

But I think he fancied the dentist, so if his teeth
Were bad, then all to the good.) If he replaced his glasses
With contact lenses, he played the piano
Better, he could read the music extra fast!
Every cloud has a silver lining. Every fire
Some smoke - that bloody dog.

He liked to have a few gins, then drive the dog
Down to the river, the clumsy dog with his teeth
Sunk into a rubber ball; the sitting room fire
Allowed to die down after lunch, the glasses
Littering the sink, the winter sun sinking fast
The lid still up on the piano.

(Well, the lid was never down on that piano.)
He taught himself to play it (he was a string player really), loved his dog,
His undoing. (A stupid dog, but a fast
Friend). He normally avoided disaster by the skin of his teeth,
Had a lot of narrow escapes, drove dementedly, glasses
Taped up and falling off, abstracted but impetuous. He had fire.

He died trying to save his dog. I hope he died fast
In the river, his teeth clenched against the cold water, his glasses
Found in the mud. Piano is gone now. The fire is out.

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