A Paper Cento for Year’s End

A Cento for a Scribe

the scribe was having a dream
in his delirium

a bridge spanned the milky river
like a chant

an orchard full
of cherry trees in bloom
petals like paper
all over the ground

“Write your prayers with
every step …”

the thread of ink on
the luminous sheets of moonshine

“I would wash it in gold,
adorn with it lapis lazuli,
rule it with carmine …”

he dipped into
the winking ink

the page lay blank and waiting

his dream

sank beneath the scummy mould
of memory…

he paused

he hesitated

the walls were pitted as well as daubed,
like the skin of bruised pears

the sack was filled with paper
pale as pistachio nuts
delicate as a breeze
in sultry air

the paper was subtle
there was something rippling
on the other side

he bent closer and breathed

he recognised
the blooming orchard
beyond the silver river

the hand hidden
in the green silk sleeve
was about to reveal itself

he left no traces
in the dust
as he followed
his new master

 

 

A Cento taken from the prose work Paper by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani

 

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11 thoughts on “A Paper Cento for Year’s End

  1. So beautiful…especially when read aloud. All senses come into play. I can easily taste, see this poem with it’s exquisite imagry..Lush, …another winner, Marsha!

  2. This is gorgeous!
    “the luminous sheets of moonshine”
    and
    “the walls were pitted as well as daubed,
    like the skin of bruised pears”
    and
    “paper
    pale as pistachio nuts”
    just beautiful.

  3. love the dreamy feel of this..and you had me at the cherry trees in bloom….i think there’s nothing more beautiful than those blossoming cherry trees in spring…sigh…

  4. “he left no traces
    in the dust
    as he followed
    his new master”

    Lovely storytelling here, makes me feel like I’m floating through the poem. looking down at this person, this room as you are describing. And I like how you leave the story open for interpretation, each to their own. Very nice.

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