To write this sestina, I took a challenge from my friends. I let them choose my words. They turned out to be: luck, control, miser, cookie, conch, vase. The product turned out to be a rather trippy story.
“There is no such thing as luck.
Only carefully planned control
Over your actions, says the Miser
As he pushes the jar of cookies
Towards the lovely, cream-colored Lady Conch,
Who sits demurely next to a Ming vase.
The Lady Conch gently pets the vase.
She wisely replies, To those who need it, luck
Comes. The vase purrs under the touch of the Lady Conch.
Dear Miser, please do try to control
Yourself and refrain from stealing my cookies.
Properly chastised, blushes the Miser.
Fortunately, no one is more incorrigible than the Miser.
As soon as the Lady Conch is distracted by the vase,
Back his hand goes into the jar of cookies.
The Miser doesn’t realize that his luck
Has turned bad; his control
Is not much better. The Lady Conch
Sees his fingers dart into the jar. Her conch-
Patterned fan snaps closed and descends on the Miser’s
Knuckles. Snap! He jerks his hand back. Control
Yourself, the Lady Conch says, or I will set my vase
On you. Next time, the Miser decides, luck
Will not be used to obtain cookies.
Eventually, he succeeds in cookie-
Snatching. Amused, the Lady Conch
Asks, This time, control or luck?
Swearing and sullenly glaring, the Miser
Says, That traitorous Ming vase.
You always have to be in control.
Of course, the vase replies. You’ve never been in control.
Then the Miser realizes—there never was a cookie.
The Ming vase is just a vase.
The Lady Conch is just a conch.
And the hungry Miser is merely a dreaming Miser.
Just his luck.
So, is it luck, or is it control?
Though the Miser wanted a cookie,
He was outsmarted by the conch who loved the vase.”