The Dance of the Poems

Konstantinos Doxiadis

That was the top of the walk when he said:
My house is a decayed house
And mist clotted about the trees in the valley

The dull nights go over, and the dull days also,
Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven
Swartest night stretched over wretched men there
A reminiscence of the vulgar fate…

To think how eager we are in building our houses!

Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
In the town where I was known.
  The world below the brine
I’ve fond anticipation of a day
In the sky clouds of cinders lit red with the blaze.
  The world below the brine,
I’ve fond anticipation of a day
When smoke is scarce, taxes are remitted.

To think how much pleasure there is!

I have gathered stones, fitted
Lantern-jawed Reason, squat Common Sense,
And if by noon I have too much of these,
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away.
We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But in due time, you and I shall take less interest in them.

I do not ask anything extraordinary of myself
I would meet you upon this honestly
I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead,
and to see the seasons come round in good order.

I haven't any memory - have you? -
No friend to break silence,
I shan’t be gone long. You come too.

Note: This cento is a rearrangement of lines from poems by T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, Basil Bunting, William Carlos Williams, and Walt Whitman.

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