A Cento

Tweetspeak Poetry has declared this July to be the month of the cento. I actually did one using Mary Oliver’s “American Primitive.” Because I own it.
(Thank you, Professor Ann Miller—gone but not forgotten).




and the black river of loss

Disorder and astonishment

skirting the secret pools —

hunting water

sleeking along

day after shining day

I knelt and drank from that crumpled flow,

the blue of the sky falls over me

I want to flow out

spit through wet stones. And a pool

climbing up out of the wet cities —

barnacles and joy

such slick crossings, deep

in the swale — everything else

clean as holy water. Meanwhile

the ponds start dissolving

The crow calls: plunder!

the loose tons of water

What a holy and sensual splashing!

tilting through the water

the warm river of the I

the splash of his touch

and the wanderings of water.

this thick paw of my life

how I love myself at last!


Title: “Morning At Great Pond”

Line 1: “In Blackwater Woods”

Line 2: “The Plum Trees”

Line 3: “Climbing the Chagrin River”

Line 4: “Music”

Line 5: “The Sea”

Line 6: “Happiness”

Line 7: “Tecumseh”

Line 8: “A Meeting”

Line 9: “White Night”

Line 10: “Blackberries”

Line 11: “Little Sister Pond”

Line 12: “Humpbacks”

Line 13: “Crossing the Swamp”

Line 14: “Blossom”

Line 15: “Spring”

Line 16: “Skunk Cabbage”

Line 17: “Rain in Ohio”

Line 18: “A Poem for the Blue Heron”

Line 19: “Postcard from Flamingo”

Line 20: “Egrets”

Line 21: “Cold Poem”

Line 22: “Flying”

Line 23: “Fall Song”

Line 24: “August”

Line 25: “The Honey Tree”


  1. i like patchwork…is this a patchwork of titles?

  2. How brilliant! Love it.