Distancing

L. Jane Begley, March 23, 2020, Lexington, Kentucky

Author’s note: This poem is in the form of a Cento, which comes from the Latin word for “patchwork.” The Cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets. These poets have each been given credit at the end of this work.  During this time of isolation, having a community to draw strength and inspiration from is important.  Enjoy!

He never travelled the landscape, but stayed inside it.
Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams
warned a dying Plato.  You have to isolate
the nameless feelings that course through our breast,
full not of danger, but the endangered,
that come out of symptoms and their fallen edges.

How can the power of our combination of intimacy and isolation
work.  Maybe the room would swallow me and I’d get invisible if I
grow self-conscious by the withering.
Days lost between the clock and my phone: I made coffee
as one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.
Digital memories still lacking in the composition.

The plague full swift goes by.

Thanks to these sources: Charles Wright; Wallace Stevens; Matthew Arnold; Dan Beachy-Quick; Prageeta Sharma; Juliana Spahr; Ladan Osman; Maya C. Popa; Grady Chambers; W. H. Auden; Adriano Spatola; and Thomas Nashe

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