Jul/Aug 2018 Poetry

Cento for Our Times

by Virginia Bach Folger

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

Cento for Our Times *

All this began when I woke up and opened the blinds.
In these moments, I'll believe anything—
some nightmares, though, are true.

Beyond the last treeline on the horizon
where we store empathy
there's nothing to do but be here.

We're believers in the eternal now,
living that sadness, still cracked—
desperate to not be out of touch.

Each morning we look for the light

Outside, it's cold like the day
and not enough air.

The Tyrants sleep like gods
waiting for the dawn.

I too have walked away when no one looked.
How much easier it is.

I do not know why I said what I did.
The tree replied:
Were you happy? Or shuttering your house?

In the delicate balance between
where songs are made
begin collecting the debris.

Tears have filled this river and made it what it is today.
Light pierces a cloud & scatters in shards.
Your home is the rock of Sisyphus; your story is a book.

Blessed are the ones who sing.


* All of the lines in this cento are taken from poems recently published by Martin Willets, Jr., Leila Chatti, Mike Alexander, John Balaban, Tracy May Fuad, Hayden Saunier, Michael Mark, Meghan Tutola, Steve Abbott, Mather Schneider, Jefferu Bahr, George David Clark, Zeina Hashem Beck, Quincy R. Lehr, Craig van Rooyen, Caron Andregg. Meena Alexander, Carolyn Wright, Edward Bartok-Baratta, Gus Paterson, Susan Alkaitis, Lynne Knight, Cameron Barnett and Abby E. Murray.


Previous Piece Next Piece