Scott Wiggerman

A HART CRANE CENTO

In the focus of the evening there is this island with
the tossing loneliness of many nights,
this tuft that thrives on saline nothingness.
Here has my salient faith annealed me.

There are no stars tonight,
so dream thy sails, O phantom bark,
you, who contain augmented tears, explosions—
insistently through sleep—a tide of voices.

Out of the seagull cries and wind,
up the chasm-walls of my bleeding heart,
the swift red flesh, a winter king
awake to the cold light.

Through torrid entrances, past icy poles,
we make our meek adjustments:
tenderness and resolution
sinuously winding through the room.

I had come all the way here from the sea.
Above the fresh ruffles of the surf,
among cocoa-nut palms of a far oasis,
forgetfulness is like a song.


Source & Method: Each line in this cento is a first line from a poem by Hart Crane as found in The Complete Poems and Selected Letters and Prose of Hart Crane (New York: Anchor Books, 1966).


Scott Wiggerman is the Albuquerque author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Bearing the Mask, and Weaving the Terrain.


Photo by Peter Fogden