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 last appeared here in October 2016, and 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:


14 thoughts on “Love, Scattered (Cento)

  1. A whole lot of wonderful happens in the space here between whorl and whirl, as love rewrites human understanding through ecstatic physical experience. The use of inverted symbolism (light=chaos and darkness=order) is masterful, and the further topsy-turviness of the functions we normally associate with those creation-myth symbols (i.e., chaos is represented as the bright, beautiful, and haphazard stars and flowers; and order’s dark heart is the peaceful home toward which all light ultimately pulses), as love’s waves disorient and overwhelm, and ultimately carry the love-struck subject to a sense of purposeful oblivion, is an apt scattering of expectation and volition…

    Thanks for including the link to H.D.’s bio! I need to get edumacated!

    Liked by 2 people

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