Love, Scattered (Cento)

Love, Scattered (Cento)

I cull and offer this and this,
and these last definite whorls

or later star or flower, such
rare dark in another world,

outdistancing us, madness
upon madness, the crest

and hollow, the lift and fall,
ah drift, so soft, so light,

where rollers shot with blue
cut under deeper blue as the

tide slackens when the roar of
a dropped wave breaks into it,

and under and under, this
is clear—soft kisses like bright

flowers— why do you dart and
pulse till all the dark is home?

I am scattered in its whirl.

This cento is composed exclusively of lines taken from fifteen pages in the Collected Poems of H.D., 6th printing, 1945. Hilda Doolittle is a fascinating figure in 20th century American poetry. You might look at the Poetry Foundation’s biography for further information:


25 thoughts on “Love, Scattered (Cento)

    • Thanks, Mary. I’ve only attempted a handful of these, but enjoy the give and take, especially the difficulties in trying to maneuver another poet’s lines into a new entity (much mumbling and head shaking takes place). It’s a good thing that I don’t work on these in public…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Have you come across the work of Australian poet, Emma Lew? She would take lines from non-literary sources (science, non-fiction, old diaries, interviews, things kids say) and arrange them into poems. She stopped working some years ago, but her poems were quite startling.
    Here’s a link:
    Try and find her poem “Snow and Gold” (it’s one of my favourites!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and sometimes the other poet breaks in and silently says “this isn’t working.” As it turned out with this poem – the original first line was cut, as were the following three. It seems the focus changed as I progressed, and those lines no longer fit.


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