Still pouring forth executive desire,
despondence seized again the fallen gods
while we’re in the body that’s impossible.
With emulous taste that vulgar deed annoys,
dreaming sloth of pallid hue,
let us dine on beans and bacon.

With taste that annoys the emulous gods,
again let us dine on beans and deed
while we’re in the body that’s desire.
Pouring forth impossible despondence,
still dreaming bacon of vulgar hue,
the fallen executive seized the pallid sloth.

While we’re in the pallid despondence
that’s vulgar, sloth seized the deed
and emulous bacon of impossible hue.
Let us dine again on fallen beans,
still bodying forth that dreaming taste
and annoy the executive gods.

Let us, dreaming emulous beans,
taste again impossible desire,
dine on bacon that annoys the executive
pouring forth vulgar sloth
with pallid gods that seized despondence
while we’re still in the body of fallen hue.

With vulgar taste, that emulous deed
seized sloth and still desire, while
in the body, despondence, the pallid
executive, pouring forth on beans and fallen
bacon, dreaming the hue that annoys.
We’re impossible gods again! Let us dine.

Despondence of the vulgar gods again
annoys that executive taste of bacon
and beans; let us dine on dreaming
that’s still impossible while we’re
pouring forth emulous sloth, desire,
the seized deed of the fallen body.

The fallen gods of pallid hue…
That vulgar deed in the body that’s impossible…
Let us dine, let us dine, on executive desire…


Cento of lines from public-domain poems constructed into a sestina, then deconstructed.
• With emulous Taste, that vulgar deed annoys (“Summer Images”), John Clare
• And dreaming Sloth of pallid hue (“Ode for Music”), Thomas Gray
• Despondence seized again the fallen Gods (“Hyperion” ), John Keats
• Let us dine on beans and bacon (“The Table and the Chair”), Edward Lear
• Still pouring forth executive desire (“Ode: The Author Apologizes to a Lady, for His being a Little    Man”), Christopher Smart
• While we’re in the body that’s impossible (“The Shadowy Waters”), William Butler Yeats


Bill Yarrow is the author of The Lice of Christ (MadHat Press 2014), Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku(Cervená Barva Press 2013), and Pointed Sentences(BlazeVOX 2012). He has been published in many print and online journals including Poetry International, DIAGRAM, Contrary, Altered Scale, RHINO, Uno Kudo, Gargoyle, THRUSH, and PANK. Yarrow is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College where he teaches creative writing, Shakespeare, and film. Blasphemer, a new book of poems, is forthcoming from Lit Fest Press in 2015.

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One Response to One Poem by Bill Yarrow

  1. James Reiss says:

    What a wackily funny mashup of a sestina and a cento, using offbeat, sort of wretched, pseudo-canonical lines. This could be a weird crowd pleaser at a poetry reading, though it’s anything but a piece of slam verse. Four cheers to Bill Yarrow!

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