Requiem for the Mother of Exiles by David P. Wilkins

Issue 13

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
is sinking down in its tranquility;
whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed,
but no confusion, no disturbance rude.
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right,
dared dignify the labor, bless the quest
in which we rest and, for small reason, think.

it is at moments after i have dreamed
that, if I could, I would compose her roots again,
I bring you, calling out as children do.
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain.
If only you would free, at least, the sparrows
pinned down by need and moaning for release.

Source: Lines taken from, The Best Sonnets of All Time compiled by Michael R. Burch

Method: Constraining myself to only the poems included on one website, I extracted lines which essentially kept to iambic pentameter in order to construct a blank verse sonnet (though line 10 is iambic hexameter).  Each line of the Cento had to come from separate poems. The aim was to take lines from poems written in several different centuries in order to construct a piece that spoke to a contemporary issue brought on by Trump’s election.

David P. Wilkins is a semi-retired anthropological linguist living in Sydney, Australia. Though he has written poetry his whole life, this is the first time he has sent out his poetry to be published.