Tag Archives: Cento

Swept up (Cento)

Negation, all fulfilled desire
gold with a heart of cinder.

Everything suggests something else.

When the weeds sprawl
it is not what you think.

The dust motes float
and swerve in the sunbeam
because I say we rather than they;

They change the color of your dream:
We is whiplash
and backhanded ways of settling grief.

Very present like a dark poem,
far and unreadable just out
at the edge of this poem floating.

And it is this rocking back and forth

to take in to sate the mouths

of humid heavy air and the wing music
of bees and flies.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.
Tomorrow waits with a big broom.

**************

This Cento contains lines from the following poets:

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Robert Frost, AF Moritz, Muna Lee, Carl Sandburg, Karen Volkman, Lee Herrick, WS Graham, Susan Donnelly, Alison C Rollins, Ha Jin, Jean Garrigue, Jacob Saenz

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Disbelief ( a Cento)

Time does have mercy. But it doesn’t enumerate or wait.
A mother of course goes on setting the table, even if it’s with broken plate
lit with the fire of sighs, casts spells, burns sage,
sweats in a lodge, her own prayers flaming,

afraid to demand the right
to be afraid.
You’re trying very hard.
the sensation of anticipated
hearing close inside the ear
and the incipient murmur or cry

Ask and ask until nothing’s left to ask.

A hundred Cheerios, one by one, thinking,
bearing a slender cord for unseen hands.
The rims of wounds have wounds as well.
The memory- as the sole miracle hovering in the air-
Dreams. Time. Horizon. Farther from home than belief
of how your mother laid roses.

 

This Cento is comprised of lines from the following poets.

Chen Chen, Barbara Ras, Sheryl Luna, Robin Morgan, Ko Un, Alice B. Fogel, Carry Fountain, Edwin Markham, Lucie Brock-Broido, Arthur Davison Ficke, Simon J. Ortiz.

Choice words (Cento)

Under the wordless sky, come
with loveliness and the icy drouth
of hate –

The diverse forms of things, how can we learn?
Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows
We call things beautiful, not as such, but because of what they mean.

One moment rests my heart, to rend the next
with words alert and bold,
betrayals so long repeated
that they are taken for granted.

And passing on, smiled like a singing rainbow,
the sky too soon shall witness on your winter hill
as atoms dissipate, as chance sorts life.

*********
A Cento is a poem comprised of lines borrowed from other poets. This one owes is origins to the following poets:
Edward Albert Clements, Margaret Fraser,V.N. Wylde,John Creagh, Kathryn Worth, Joseph Stanley Pennell, John Davies, Robert Browning, Anthony Madrid, and W.S. Merwin.

Unknowns (Cento)

The wars go on and on,
invading  your dreams.
Everything you saw
                                 you were,
and you saw everything.
Out of the heart of the ineffable
draw the black flecks of matter
and from these the cold, blue fire.
It produced a wavelike pattern.
All this prodding, so that to an outside observer,
we are the gods who can unmake
the world in seven days.
And just as I need every bit
 of what is seen,

even among these
defractions,
visions that witches brew,
spoken with images,
never with you-
There was never any more inception than there is now,
to go into the unknown.
I must enter, and leave, alone,
I know not how,
but knew love and
know it through knowledge.
-The darkness in the open mouth
uttered itself, pushing
aside the light.
Credits:
Jessica Hagedorn, Don Bogen, Diane di Prima, John Beer, Lisel Mueller, Jane Yolen, Michael Anania, Walt Whitman, Edward Thomas, Laura Moriarty, Helen Dudley, Margaret Atwood

A Christmas Card

Paper greetings, printed in opaque black,
swirled with ochre tones – and embossed
with tinsel and glare.

The serenity of straw and stable,
low station and artless beginnings-
in the midst of majestic creations.

Or how the mystery of snowfall
obscures the road ahead, yet in stillness
illustrates continuum beauty where we are led.

The green wreath, the evergreen bough-
decked in ribbon – tinged with gold
and captures glimmer and snow alike, somehow.

See the carolers, their faces
reddened in winter’s callous air –
mouths agape with our imagined joyful song and prayer.

In the bleak midwinter,
Snow lay all around, stars shown bright-
then pealed the bells more loud and clear,
Merry Christmas, Noel, this silent night.

Cento (of the sea)

A Cento is a poem made up entirely of lines and passages from other works, arranged in an order to mean something completely different. Here is a Cento comprised of a little bit of everything from Spike Milligan to Sylvia Plath. Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

*******************************

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea,
The green waves foam and thrust and slide,
the sea was wet as wet could be,
all my dreams come back to me.

It’s really best that tides come in
(The water soon came in, it did).
It looked so pitiful and sad,
despite this careful scrutiny.

Deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
No birds were flying overhead –
They “noticed” me-they noticed me
made of pumpkins and pelican glue.

A secret, kept from all the rest
(I never could talk to you)
Of pygmies, palms and pirates,
said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

There was an old man in a boat,
and as in uffish thought he stood,
they danced by the light of the moon.
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
I only sing the tunes.