Day 30: Words fail

Another bittersweet NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo wrap-up! Thank you to Maureen for working so hard to make this beautiful month happen year after year, and to all the participants who are so generous with their creativity, vision, time, attention, and insight!

Today’s prompt is to write a cento, a poem comprised of lines from other poems.

“While we’re alive,” we kept
repeating. Tongues, throats, [1]
and fog inside the bones. [2]

And the days peeled away like that, like platitudes, [3]
forgetting old words for the heart and the things in it. [4]
And now we are here. [5]

How the years make loss leaf out, [6]
the mower coughing up the neighbor’s yard. [7]
A den of worms beneath the frozen grass, [8]

convalescing in the refuse, [9]
drowsy with a full century’s worth [10]
of words, of worlds that failed slowly, then all at once. [11]

The source poems are ones I particularly liked from various daily poem email subscriptions:

1. “Day After Day of the Dead,” Nathaniel Mackey

2. “Fog,” Ruth Madievsky

3. “A Little Slice of Heaven,” Jaswinder Bolina

4. “Big Clock,” Li-Young Lee

5. “Coming to This,” Mark Strand

6. “Hirtles Beach Metonymy,” Michael Goodfellow

7. “The Rock that is not a Rabbit,” Corey Marks

8. “Places with Terrible Wi-Fi,” J. Estanislao Lopez

9. “Lake of Shining Water,” Lillian Necakov

10. “The Bell System,” Adam O. Davis

11. “Apostrophe,” Lisa Katz Duncan


  1. Sonia Dogra · April 30

    Beautiful. Evocative. Thank you for this lovely treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alana · April 30

      Thank you, Sonia, for your generosity as a reader! ❤ And for your beautiful poetic offerings this month. Hope to see you again next year!


  2. SelmaMartin · April 30

    A lovely listing. I like this very much… A delight to read your curated piece. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alana · May 1

      Aw thank you, Selma! Look forward to seeing you back next year!


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