Cento I

(I just learned about the cento today. It’s a legitimate form of poetry dating back to antiquity wherein the poem is formed via lines from other works. I’m fascinated by this and it’s a very strange way to work, far more architectural than the way poetry usually flows for and from me. Each line is a whole world in and of itself, a word knot that brings the context and allusions and magic of the original poem from which it is taken into play in this new creation.)

Cento I

Don’t smear your madness on me.
The deaths I suffered began in the heads about me.
We danced in our minds
who ate fire
in the face of hungry lions.

Scholars of war,
Keeper of the keys of thy blood,
my blood approves
I am scorched like wax torches dipped in sulphur,
like holy incense added to smoking pyres.
there are bones at the hearth.

In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
it is equal to living in a tragic land.
There are no dry bones here.
The ant’s a centaur in his dragon world.
Quiet. Hold on. Listen.
The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better
than mercy.
I hold with those who favor fire,
maddened with the hot breath of the God.
Crowned with a wreath of serpents,
I have opened the closed road
between the living and the dead.

But for the God it is only the dance that matters.

 

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[With respect to: Euripides, Robin Robertson, William carlos williams, Ntozake Shange, Ginsburg, e.e. cummings, Ovid, Denise Levertov, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, Etheridge Knight, Ezra Pound, Robinson Jeffers, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, and Sophocles.]

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Posted on March 17, 2016, in Bacchic Things, Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Wow! What a beautiful poem!

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  2. Oh, wow, now I have to try this. What a fascinating form!

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    • ganglerisgrove

      I’m fascinated by the form! please share yours when you do give it a shot, if you’re willing. it’s….a very different process, at least i found it so, from my other poetry….and so cool

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  3. I’ve considered myself a poet for about 5 years and have been reading poetry way longer and have never come across this form before. The creative process, particularly in a spiritual context, sounds fascinating. This is something I’m going to have to try for myself. Thank you.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      I’d been writing for years and years but had never come across it either. It’s a completely different way of working but i’m finding the results quite rewarding. If you decide to share yours, please let me know. I’d love to read them.

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