Poem: The Midnight (cento)


Cento (collage poem)

Source Text:  The Midnight, by Susan Howe


The Midnight

Who are they that fly as a cloud

from wilds and mountains?

Fair maiden of cloudlight,

You are wild,

indifferent as twilight.

She retreats into the woodland

her laurels still fresh–

wildeyed–

conversing with an invisible spirit–

in danger of being promoted

to the witch category.


Poem: Nature’s Beauty


Cento (collage poem)

Source Text: The Outdoor Life of Children


O, student of Society and History,

we were all meant to be naturalists,

each in his degree.

It is inexcusable to live in a world

so full of marvels,

of plant and animal life,

and to care for none of these.

Consider the lilies of the field

the fowls of the air.

Things worth observing —

to be watched from day to day:

— the departure and return of the birds with the season

— the portly form and spotted breast of the thrush

— a jay flying across a field

— the graceful flight of the swallow

— the yellow bill of the blackbird

— the gush of song which the skylark pours from above

while perching in a tree.

Make the acquaintance of a wild flower —

every common miracle

in all its fairy beauty.

Observe the wood and pith in the hazel twig

— the downy catkins of the willow

— the flower comes, each shut up in the dainty casket we call a bud

— the little ruby-eyed pistil late-flowers of the hazel

— leaves, branches, bark, trunk of trees.

Every plant bears fruit,

fruit and seed after his kind.

Nature —

the Divine thought

the mystery of beauty