Cento poems make
great bedside reading, because cento is Latin for quilt. A cento is a sort of found
poem literally "stitched together": every line is taken from another
poem. It's a very old form, dating back to at least the 4th century, but it
seems custom-made for our hyper-linked age. And it's a great form for D-I-Y
types and renters (and those suffering from chronic
writer's block), because the cento allows you to make something with what
you're given, rather than building a structure from scratch. Selection is
a form of invention. Make lemonade.
Here's a cento to celebrate
our recent "stunning
win"--click on each line to be taken to the source text.
Always the light recedes; with groping hands
light reaches through a leaf,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground.
Light sinks and rusts
how all matter dissolves, eventually, into energy:
the moon will soon shine
further than sunshine could.
How long ago the day is.
Sometimes a light surprises,
a special kind of dark called light,
the darkness thinking the light,
When the light appears, boy, when the light appears--
how pleasant the yellow butter.
Light the first light of evening, as in a room
in the flickering candlelight,
a window, from which you can see clouds better than people,
black pine tree in an orange light.
We point at the moon with one finger,
and hold it up to the light
of night and light and the half-light
of other days around me.
Shannon Holman, AT Poet Laureate
Our remarkable poet laureate, Shannon Holman, is away in Indonesia for a few months of R&R. In the meantime, we'll be revisiting her earliest meditations. This one goes all the way back to February, 2005. Enjoy!
Photo credit: George via Flickr
(RePublished from Feb 25, 2005)