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.