SHADOWS THE WORDS
How old is your ardor?
everything feels afterwards
And if echoes are shadows
The words in the storm
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
Eventually the birds become
record player. Electric & spinning.
Sources and Method: This cento, which is also an acrostic, consists of one line taken from each of the following poems (in order of appearance): Kathleen Ossip’s Your Ardor; Philip Schultz’s Afterwards; Sarah Eliza Johnson’s Combustion; Noelle Kocot’s On being an artist; Philip Levine’s Our Valley; Adam Clay’s Our Daily Becoming; and Julia Cohen’s In the dark we crush.
Mark A. McCutcheon teaches and researches postcolonial popular culture and copyright at Athabasca University. He has published poetry and fiction in literary journals like subTerrain, Existere, Carousel, and Kaleidotrope. His critical research on copyright has appeared in English Studies in Canada, Digital Studies, and Popular Music, among other scholarly journals and books.
I see the gods in your body
falling from the holy tree—
they look older than men can
ever be—old like hills, like stars
they say to a mountain
move from here
and wait quietly while the mud
settles on wide blue plains
Source Text: Various Spiritual texts
Method: This cento is an attempt at unification of faith(s) through language and image. Each book used in the process surrounding this cento carries specific tones, sentence types, and metaphors, so in the forming of these poems I had to mortar together the
rather disparate sources to build a cohesive voice and message. It is my hope that these poems mean something particularly unparticular, something interested in the all encompassing.
Dan Dorman is not a human fish. Dan Dorman breathes high atmosphere air and star stuff. Dan Dorman writes poems that look how they feel. Dan Dorman enjoys poetry and birds who sing.
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.
Passed the Bouncer’s Bar tonight
People kept coming in and looking
Pure white is first light
‘Pale horse pale rider’
The plane wings away toward heaven
The population explodes
Source: First lines of Lawrence Ferlinghetti poems.
Mark Young’s most recent book is Mineral Terpsichore, from gradient books of Finland. An e-book, The Holy Sonnets unDonne, has recently come out from Red Ceilings Press, & another e-book, For the Witches of Romania, is due out from Beard of Bees.