The Red Book: A Sestina

- Primula

Within your ancient, leatherbound covers
Lies a story of a life with a tale for forever.
The written words whisper at the turning
As the heavy parchment is leafed through, read
With understanding or without, the stories
Of adventures, of living and dying within your pages.

Carefully prepared leaves, the finest quality pages
Were chosen with care to speak between the covers.
With every eye who follows your remembered stories,
Other minds will feel anew your painful saga forever.
Your story will not be forgotten as long as it is read,
Nor will the sacrifices of lives fade in the turning.

The autumn leaves of every season turning
Would seem a fitting tribute to the dry, old pages
But instead it seems to remain evergreen, ever-read
With the heartbeats and longing fears between covers
Captured, in spidery and flowing handwriting forever
Replaying something worth telling, a story of stories.

The Red Book you are called, a collection of stories
Gathered not only from desires and dreams, but a turning
Of the experiences of days and nights, forever
Captured in the confines of  red leather-bound pages,
Into a river that pulls the reader along and covers
Their imagination, sweet and poignant to read.

The readers of your fine lettering will only wish to read
Again your tale, will dream of being a part of your stories,
Even though they know the authors are gone. Your covers
Hold all that is left of them and their days, the turning
Of the Ages is merciless, and Time's own pages
Will be turned by the hand of the sun and moon forever.

Still, the readers will dream. They will forever
Feel that longing to know more, to live what they read,
To breathe the air of the places written of in your pages
And to hold close the people written of in your stories.
There is a life that is remembered in the turning
Of the pages, and in the opening of the ancient leather covers.

The tale among the pages, a tale for all people forever;
The well-worn soft leather covers, showing it often read:
Thirsting for the truth in the stories, to history they are turning.