Cento 2 – Ray Bradbury

This cento is taken from Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. It’s an amazing book and I’d definitely recommend reading it if you haven’t already.


Summer, sweet as clover, honey-grass, and wild mint, kept its lovely time.

The things it most wanted were hidden in the dark.


The carnival: a promotion of brass, a flush of velvet.

The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread.

They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason,

A dead soul is no kindling.

They set the clocks by death-watch beetles.

The spider-web hears them, trembles—breaks.


As the thunder lizard strode, all glass-bead pomp, so strode Mr. Dark, armoured with vile lightning.

In flight, in heat-spell river of wind and blaze of metal, in jog of July and August horses whose hoofs thudded the air like thrown fruit, his eyes blazed.

Here lay a portrait of the prince of darkness, all nightmare viper, sabertooth, libidinous ape, clotted vulture.

Mr Dark scuttled a tarantula hand up an electric brass switchboard,

A hungry knife all flashes and meteor shine, much desiring to cleave space.

A Cyclops with a navel for a squinted moron eye twitched on his stomach as he strode.

Eyes fire-crystal, quick, striking like snakes.

The guillotine flash, the Egyptian mirrors unfold accordions of light, and the sulphur-skinned devil-man sipping lava, like gunpowder tea.


Now the old and terribly-wise-with-nightmare eye was so wide and so deep and so alive all to itself in that smashed porcelain face that there at the bottom of the eye somewhere the evil nephew peered along and out at the freaks, internes, police, and…

The thumping pagan heart of the carnival band,

Slit and stuffed with broken mirror maze glass

Sewing them tight with fingerprinted thread.

It makes a sound like the stars turning over in your sleep.

Policemen, interns, boys jumped up their flesh in cobbles and boils.

Now it all seemed fireworks, done for colour, sound, the high architecture of words, with no mark left on retina or mind after the colour and sound faded.

The tongue remembers iron water cool on some long lost noon.

Our fingers burn with the hot string singeing the hands.

They frenzy forth.

All the glistery tripes of the world shaped like hung-and-dripping sins and all the sins tenterhooked and running red and verminous,

In gusts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters.

Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.


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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s