Last day of April: A cento

#napowrimo2022, day 30: ‘write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems.’ 

I enjoyed this so much that I ended up with three linked collages from the same ten poems: Jason Allen-Paisant, Listen. Raymond Antrobus, All The Names Given, p. 18. Ilya Kaminsky, Dancing in Odessa. Layli Long Soldier, example. Vladimir Lucien, Bush Tea. Carola Luther, Slipping of Light. Kei Miller, 12 Notes For a Light Song of Light. Mary Oliver, How I go to the woods. Roger Robinson, A Portable Paradise. Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.


[music of urgent kindness]

To say, I’m partial to opaque objects, I delight in luminosity.
And if I speak of Paradise,
the blackbird whistling
this gathering of leaves,
I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing,
name the songs that play / from small twigs and needles.
I retell the story the light etches.
A light song of light will summon daffodils.
This I believe, is similar to love.


[sound of time passing]

The sun / is old and no longer lights from without.
A light song of light swells up in dark times
the way you boil the morning into being.
It was April. The sun washed the balconies, April.
It was evening all afternoon
and I glance over my shoulder / now and again not persuaded
no one else would know but me.
I don’t really want to be witnessed
when a word of lightful meaning flips under / buries me in the work of blankets.


[ripens quietly]

close eyes listening try
standing understood, among each other
gathered in our names.
A light song of light is not understood completely.
I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.
The river is moving;
a whole new country, this tenderness—
hum its anthem under your breath.
At night, I woke to whisper: yes, we lived.


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