February 2010 Read Write Poem Mini-Challenge Poem #2: The Prophet

This is my second 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 Arthur Rimbaud.

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


I have a horror of all trades. In my vision I saw
a million charming creatures moving in time to
beautiful church-music, Power and Peace, noble ambitions, and
lord knows what. These, it was promised, would
bury the tree of good and evil in absolute darkness, would
banish despotic proprieties, freeing us to love purely
in the pure land. It’s the vision of numbers; eternity, the
shoreless ocean in the sun.

We advance towards Spirit.
Like him, I’m eating myself alive.

It is these moments of awakening that gave me
visions of purity! I know them all. I’ve seen
an ocean of fires and smoke in heaven:
to the left, to the right, all the riches of creation blazing
like a million thunderbolts. Out of
the sea, which I loved as though it would wash me clean, I saw
the cross of consolation rising. Do I know
nature yet? The hand on a pen is a
hand on a plow.

We advance towards Spirit.
Like him, I’m eating myself alive.

Hard night! It began with boorishness; it
ends with angels of fire and ice. Spiritual combat is as brutal as
human wars. I who called myself an angel above the law and a
seer, I return to the soil with a duty to seek and rugged reality to
embrace. But if, from now on, my spirit was
always wide awake, we might still get to truth. Let
prayers gallop and lightning rumble! Via the spirit we
go to God!

We advance towards Spirit.
Like him, I’m eating myself alive.

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 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!

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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.
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