"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Mormon Cento: Next to Murder

Sheep & lambs, Image Credit: Kilburn Brothers, NYPL

Kimball Cento 1971


next to murder
defilement, worthy of death
a preachment
my story was finished
with a heart near bursting
with admiration and affection
upon the earth today
men should be holding firm, yet some yield
speak filthiness
loud and raspy
I saw the artists lay down
no thought to the unmatched chairs
no apologies were offered
no beer, no coffee, no cigarettes
history repeats itself
many voices, loud and harsh
receive the wink of approval
even some of the clergy
all are not criminals, all are not bad
this sweet Lamanite wife
had many glimpses of heaven
we are living in the last days
the night creeps in to envelop us
without the natural affection
the little cold shivering lambs
make the family supreme, the home inviolate
there are voices all about us
to every listener a cordial invitation
sweet and penetrating
those are ugly voices
in contrast hear the strong voice
a voice of authority
the voice of the First
come with us to sureness
into heavenly situations
constructive and pleasant
light and warm
neat and dignified
comes the vibrant voice of Paul
save from the darkness the bewildered, frustrated youth
deep crime which darkens heaven’s windows
born in his mind
seducing spirits
unnatural, unmanly, ungodly
rasping voices proclaiming
the perversion program
like the antediluvians who never believed
sometimes we should stop to reflect
the holy temple across the way
quite detached from this world
heaven is a place, but also a condition
history repeats itself
powerful and strong
may the voices of the Lord’s servants prevail
a little extra weary
dressed neatly
ennoble men toward Godhood


Poet's Note:

The above poem is a cento, a derivative form of poetry. I have assembled my cento from phrases written by the late Spencer W. Kimball, a President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka the Mormons). These are all phrases pulled from two addresses he gave in 1971. They were delivered in April and October respectively, at the General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

President Kimball's original addresses were not poems, and this cento is not meant as an abridgment of those speeches. This poem is meant to be appreciated as a standalone piece. Mr. Kimball's addresses may be found in their entirety on the Church's website.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Mormon Cento for Thomas S. Monson

The Western Pacific Railway crossing
the Great Salt Lake in Utah, Image Credit: NYPL

A Mormon Cento

the azure blue waters
like a living sentinel
this silent friend
this solemn statement

ageless in its application
this simple statement
the rock-strewn pathways

little wonder that men did tarry
entrusted with the work
honest men with yearning hearts
like pioneers blazing wilderness trails
speaking out fearlessly
such were the teachings and lives
the grasp of the people

truth has been and is available to us
a personal promised land
the reality
the comfort
the sanctity
the power
come home
the peal of a remembered bell will be the truth
may such be the blessing of all


Poet's Note:

The above poem is a cento, a derivative form of poetry. I have assembled my cento from phrases written by the late Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka the Mormons). As a non-practicing Mormon, I nonetheless feel a sense of nostalgia when a prominent leader of the faith passes.

In April of 1975, Mr. Monson delivered an address entitled "The Way Home" at the General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. The phrases in the above cento can be found within his speech. Monson's original address was not a poem, and this poem is not meant as an abridgement of the speech. It is meant to be enjoyed as a standalone piece.

Mr. Monson's address may be found in its entirety on the Church's website.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Stanza before Scrooged

Beef almost spoiled wants only for mustard.
Balance dry bread with potatoes and cheddar.
Stomach what’s done, so your future is gravy.


I post the above stanza with compliments to Scrooge on his dietary diagnosis of Marley's visitation. For more stanzas celebrating film adaptations of Dickens's A Christmas Carol, visit my Poetry label. ...and Merry Christmas!