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Poetry Class with Ellen

A cento composed of lines from Ellen Kort’s poems

Poems swing from the clothesline strung
between earth and sky
She wears the soft shawl of sunrise
her words     like silk
running through our fingers
an offering
a melodic string of pearls
in a world that has forgotten
how to listen
    I whisper Don’t go

I can’t remember
what the air felt like the first day
the frail bridge on which we traveled
down the long blue corridor
to the rim of sky
to the edges of our lives
there was something about light
it was as if all the fireflies of childhood
had come out to play
    I whisper Don’t go

What kind of agreement did she have
with the earth     with the woodpecker’s
stuttered alphabet     the bear and deer bending
to drink from the lake     the rain varnishing
stones     making everything wet and tender
There is nothing left between us now
but an empty sky
    humming
         with the silver fabric
              of her poems.

In loving memory of Ellen Kort, 3/26/36–4/21/15
First Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, 2000—2004

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Contributors

Janet Leahy’s poems appear in online and print journals including New Verse News, Midwest Prairie Review, The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and elsewhere.

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