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Found Poetry Contest
 

 

 

 

Cristian Mocanu, RO

 

Cento

 

Brief Encounter

 

The spruce stands like the hand of a clock, spiked.
He offered me a branch like an arm,
I offered him my arm like a branch.
The wood ant watches silently, looks into nothing
and nothing’s heard except drips from dim leafage
He tipped his trunk to me like a shoulder
I tipped my shoulder to him like a knotted trunk
The ant glows in the hill’s shadow.
I could hear his sap quicken, beating like blood;
he could hear my blood slacken like rising sap .

Bird cry! And the cloud-packs slowly begin to roll.
I passed through him, he passed through me.
He remained a solitary tree
I, a solitary man

 

This is a cento involving two contemporary poets: the 2011 Nobel Prize laureate Tomas Transtörmer from Sweden and Romanian poet Nichita Stănescu (1933-1983).

For this free verse cento, I used one poem for each of the two authors:

  • for Transtörmer, I used Midnight Turning Point from his poetry book The Great Enigma in the English translation by Robin Fulton (2006): Source
     

  • for Stănescu, I used his poem Necuvintele(The Unwords) from the poetry book of the same title, published in 1969. Unfortunately, no translator name was given, for the English version found here: http://www.romanianvoice.com/poezii/poezii_tr/unwords.php

As the cento format dictates, I put together either entire lines or portions of lines to make up an entirely new free verse poem, different in meaning and atmosphere from each of the 2 original ones. In the text of the poem, lines taken from Stănescu are written in Italic, lines taken from Transtörmer in Normal. I “annagramated”, ie put in a slightly different order, especially the Transtörmer lines, with regard to the position they occupy in the original poem.

 

Brief Encounter

The spruce stands like the hand of a clock, spiked.
He offered me a branch like an arm,
I offered him my arm like a branch.
The wood ant watches silently, looks into nothing
and nothing’s heard except drips from dim leafage
He tipped his trunk to me like a shoulder
I tipped my shoulder to him like a knotted trunk
The ant glows in the hill’s shadow.
I could hear his sap quicken, beating like blood;
he could hear my blood slacken like rising sap .

Bird cry! And the cloud-packs slowly begin to roll.
I passed through him, he passed through me.
He remained a solitary tree
I, a solitary man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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