Cento Sonnet: To Autumn By Mary Cresswell

CENTO SONNET: TO AUTUMN

Little we see in nature that is ours –
it moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
before high-piled books, in charactery
of unreflecting love. Then, on the shore,
the winds that will be howling at all hours
have sight of Proteus rising from the sea
(so long as men can breathe or eyes can see)
and are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers.

When I consider how my light is spent,
the world is too much with us. Late and soon
of the wide world I stand alone and think,
by chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed.
They also serve who only stand and wait,
and summer’s lease hath all too short a date.


Source:
From Collected Sonnets of Keats, Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth

Method: Cut and paste (meaning real scissors and real paper). I arranged the source poems by end rhyme and then went from there, since my aim was to keep the sonnet structure as best as I could. Works beautifully, if you remember not to open the door on a windy day!

Mary Cresswell is from Los Angeles and lives on New Zealand’s Kapiti Coast. Her fourth book, Fish Stories, is a collection of nature poetry, mainly in ghazal and glosa form, and was published by Canterbury University Press in 2015.

better known as Miss Wilmott’s ghost By Sonya C. Brown

I spent mornings barrowing down manure;
        I was down on the plot late into the evening,
                    struggling to force sticks into sun-baked ground,                    

using aluminium foil to scare away birds,
        a cocktail of chemical traps and potions—
                    proof of vitriol for anything that disrupts lawns,                    

lining up plants like soldiers,
        daft horrors underplanted with ivy.
                    A buzzard dropped a dead rabbit nearby.                    

There was a sense of time unraveling,
        the scent of somnolent roses,
                    the potency of a bluebell wood in bloom,                    

yew hedges immaculately sculpted into scallops,
        drifts of Scabeous, a shimmering matrix of Deschampsia,
                    self-sown pepper trees marring the view.

You must be willing to be ruthless,
        cut back hard the gaudy displays.
                    Killing off a rose isn’t so easy.

Occasionally you wonder.
        Not to do so were unkind and immoral,
                    while the wood beneath you weakens                    

and the knot garden succumbs to blight.
        The edge of the map looms,
                    alive as the sun sets and moon rises:                    

glimpses of the Matilija canyon,
        the Queen’s racing colours,
                    purple, gold, black and scarlet.                    

With precious little help,
        with relentless tenacity
                    and occasional waves of vertigo,                    

I stretched a thin wire
        across the spot that rooted me,
                    across things that will outstay my abandonment.                    

Absurdities in the pursuit of paradise,
        I half-hacked them and laid them over,
                    cut the heart in two and dipped it in oil,

wiped the inking off the plate.                    

                                           

Source:  Gardens Illustrated, 2013-2016

Method: I once completed an exercise using several required words in a poem. For similarly inspiring words, I skimmed issues of Gardens Illustrated, copying words and phrases up to seven words in length. I found myself using these snippets differently than intended, arranging and rearranging them until in my mind they became a single voice. This character and I added punctuation, capital letters, and the occasional transition. I am profoundly grateful to the authors whose phrases were borrowed. “Miss Wilmott’s Ghost” is the cultivar name for an Eryngium that flowers white rather than the typical blue. I know nothing about the real, eponymous Miss Wilmott.

Sonya C. Brown, Assistant Editor of Glint online literary journal, lives in Maryland with her family, two elderly dogs, two middle-aged cats, four young chickens, and countless alter egos.

Through The Heart By A. P.

my dishonest soul & I run to you
wicked bone of mine
marooned goddess
I don’t know how long you can survive
the unbecoming of the glass castle
we hide this haunted
world
out of my sight in the woods of dreams
where I cage the good
we, the animals
we, sea
unstitched among strangers
never pure enough to drown
something beastly
to rest

 

Source: Various Book Titles

Editor’s Note: You can see A. P.’s artwork for this poem here.

A. P.  is originally from Bucharest, but lives in Stuttgart, Germany. Her work appears in Severine, Watershed Review and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others.

Man, Erased By Holly Lyn Walrath

Man is conviction ridiculous.
Whenever ridiculous annihilates him
the superior man enjoys superiority perfect.
Dedicating himself to no one
he demands frugal and touching life,
impossible capacity,
accommodates pride and delusion,
learns to feel without feeling.
To feel is subjection—
the subjecting of sorrows and joys.
Set sail, or stay ships
and sail with everyone in every sensation.
Watching the hearts, every tragedy on earth,
renouncing every battle, victor of them all
shouting crowded the moment, the name
reminded that the people trying to remember, he
realized he dreamed the black hair of breasts.
Instinct wept, stretched,
but remembered all responsibility
in the dreamed sensation
closed its eyes.
Of all he’d felt in one last reflex—
crested by eagles, twilight
green mountains.

 

Source: an essay by Fernando Pessoa in Poetry Magazine

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Orphans, Liminality, and Kaleidotrope among others. She lives in Seabrook Texas, just five minutes from NASA. She wrangles writers as a freelance editor and volunteers as the associate director of Writespace, a nonprofit literary center in Houston, Texas.  Find her online @hollylynwalrath or hlwalrath.com.

repurpose By Catherine Niu

I don’t know if you want

to be confronted with the
small black screws that fell

out of you in the library,

to bail out bliss and crunch it or

to tell the truth to soothe the throat, to hope—

who does?

Before enlightenment,

hope makes you feel
naked as a horse.

The pyramid crumbles in a sequined dusk.

How do you mend

a piece of crystal broken off
from the original idea of light,

a baby gorilla thumping his only friend,
an orange bucket,

a broken et cetera,

the wooden bird flutes in the brain?

We were all chasing nothing, poor pups,

no choice left but to intensify the chase.

To bite the repetition that could be an ending.

Glut the self on sorrow until it splits, like a pomegranate.

The idea was to live forever, to have a name.

There are many kingdoms left.

After enlightenment, belief in magic.

 

Source: Various poems from a poetry reading by Dean Young.

Catherine Niu is currently a senior at Princeton University. She loves the poignancy and play that language inspires and hopes to continue honing her craft. In her free time, she likes to search for beautiful things.