Miro Sandev


the fool’s cento

Now thou art an O without a figure
I am here with thee & thy goats
as the most capricious poet honest Ovid
was among the Goths
& is not the grease of a mutton
as wholesome as the sweat of a man?
But indeed words are very rascals
since bonds disgraced them —
rich honesty dwells like a miser
in a poor house
as your pearl in your foul oyster;
this is called the Retort Courteous.
That’s as much to say as I wear not
motley in my brain
& the tailor make thy doublet
of changeable taffeta
for thy mind is a very opal.
As there is no true cuckold but calamity
so beauty’s a flower. I am afraid
this great lubber, the world,
will prove a cockney.
That that is is
& thus the whirligig of time
brings in his revenges —
the reason why the seven stars
are no more than seven
is a pretty reason.



M.A. Sandev is a poet and fiction author based in Sydney. His poems have been published (or are forthcoming) in many literary journals and anthologies including: Meanjin, Cordite, Rabbit Poetry, Australian Speculative Poetry Anthology, Regime, Meniscus, Hypallage and The Red Room. His essays have appeared in Arena Magazine and New Matilda. He also reviews theatre for Arts Hub.

Sandev writes: “Lines for the centro are taken from a number of Shakespearean fools in plays: King Lear, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night. Line breaks and ampersands are my own.”