The final (but still optional!) prompt is to write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems. If you’d like to dig into an in-depth example, here’s John Ashbery’s cento “The Dong with the Luminous Nose,” and here it is again, fully annotated to show where every line originated. A cento might seem like a complex undertaking – and one that requires you to have umpteen poetry books at your fingertips for reference – but you don’t have to write a long one. And a good way to jump-start the process is to find an online curation of poems about a particular topic (or in a particular style), and then mine the poems for good lines to string together.
What better way to end NaPoWriMo but with a poem on poetry and poets! Here is my offering.
On Poets and Poetry
Life is poetry, poetry is life
A fountain of joy said in a metaphor
I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
As for poets
The Earth poets
Who write small poems,
Need help from no man.
A weaver of words in deep quiet reflects
In his mind’s prism, many a thought deflects
The poet closes his eyes
And sees a rock,
A slab of shale, the fossil imprint there
A clear amoeba
A second: a moose painted by Stubbs,
where last year’s extravagant antlers
lie on the ground.
is seen from all sides,
That’s all there is to it–
You have to be always drunk. That’s all
there is to it– it’s the
Oh you gatherer
of the fine ash of poetry
You have to be always drunk.
My gratitude to the following poets/poems from where I picked up lines for this cento.
1. Abdul Wahab- A Poet’s Journey
2. Pablo Neruda- Poetry
3. Gary Snyder- As for Poets
4. Valsa George- An Inspired Poet
5. Paul Smyth- Poetics
6. Charles Baudelaire- Be Drunk
7. Lawrence Ferringhetti- Oh You Gatherer
Thank you to my fellow participants for some wonderful poetry and an encouraging atmosphere. Until we meet again, A Happy Poetry Year to all.