February 2010 Read Write Poem Mini-Challenge Poem #3: Delirium

This is my third piece for the February 2010 Mini-Challenge over at Read Write Poem. This month’s challenge directed us to gather a poet’s work around us, pull out or underline lines we really liked, and then construct at least two centos, or patchwork poems (one each on days one and two, of course) from those lines. On day 3, we have the option of either writing another cento or parting ways with the lines and writing our own poems based on or inspired by our chosen poet.

I chose to do another cento using Arthur Rimbaud’s lines.

And you can read all of my February Mini-Challenge Poems here.


I have swallowed a fabulous dose of poison. On my
hospital bed, an overpowering smell of incense wafts over me:
guardians of the holy oil, confessors, martyrs. I have a
pillow over my mouth, they can’t hear me, they’re
phantoms. I’m no longer in the world; life’s clock
has stopped. Yes indeed, I’ve shut my eyes
against your light;

and when it’s gone,
then I’ll be gone.

Out on the roads on winter nights, homeless, half-naked, hungry,
I hear a voice that grips my frozen heart: “Shouts, drums, dance, dance,
dance!” Do I know myself? I am ripe for death, and my
weakness leads me down a dangerous highway
to the ends of the world and to the Cimmerian lands where
darkness and the whirlwinds live. Not even a single sophistry
of madness – the madness people lock away – have I
forgotten. I can no longer bring myself to seek
the sweet relief of a good beating; I’ve been damned
by the rainbow;

and when it’s gone,
then I’ll be gone.

And what was lost? I have tried to invent new flowers,
new stars, new flesh, new tongues. I am the
author of all festivals, all triumphs, all tragedies. Copyright remains
with me. But always alone; no family; and
what language do I speak? Hunger, thirst, shouts,
dance, dance, dance, dance! It began with the
laughter of children; it will end there –

and when it’s gone,
then I’ll be gone.

Composed 2/22/10

All lines taken from Donald Revell’s translation of “A Season in Hell” by Arthur Rimbaud.

Note: Most of Rimbaud’s original text and Revell’s translations are formatted in prose. Thus, instead of strictly borrowing lines, I chose to use entire sentences. In some cases, Rimbaud would join two sentences with a semi-colon; thus I bent the rules a bit for this assignment and took the liberty of using each of these sentences separately or combining them with other sentences. I composed this piece using the a loose version of the bop form, as detailed in Read Write Poem Prompt #67 and this Get the Lead Out post over at RWP. This form was invented by Aafa Michael Weaver and is composed of three stanzas with a refrain. You can read more about it here.

Stumble It!
Stumble It!

Bookmark and Share


About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
This entry was posted in Bop, Cento, Poems, Prompt Poems, Read Write Word Prompt Poem and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s