Poetic Form: The Cento

Storytellersrus
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The Suburban Poet
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ExoticHippieQueen
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Raven
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Weather You or Me


Dark, moist months I spent

Sliding my way along balance beams

You were made of white lace

Gazing in a fancy store-front window


Blowing in a moist, early evening breeze

An avalanche of colors

Took over my life

Devouring tears


I stood in windblown heather

To wrap you in a filament of words, and doing this

Each wiggle tangling me further

Exploded the night into existence


Our souls collide

You are like a mist flowing through me

I tremble in the darkness

The dreadful sweet song

Sweet grass softly moaning in my arms


I pull the scent of you deep into my lungs

You love that I was acting like an animal

And hold my fragrance in your hand

Wanting me in a horizontal way


Feel my skin, smell and taste a part of my heart

Salty sweat covers my body, it is yours, mine, ours

I taste colors spilling out of fractals from my sweaty hands


Staring out into a vast Irish space

Looking through the kaleidoscope

Scanning the horizon for collections

Of euphoric joy and anguished grief


Erosion takes place within my bones

In my dreams marked dead on a tree

I was dreaming of the darkness

Sweet agony this, too long

I was an amusement park


I mirror your reflection now

In my morning coffee

When thoughts of returning home

Slowly drift and creep

Hoping to see a familiar face


A cento is a poem made up of lines from other poet's poems. I asked a few Hubbers and one other poet if they would mind if I used lines from their poems. They agreed, and so the poem was made possible. A word in each line of my cento links back to their original work, and the contributing poets are shown at right.

I found this form very challenging. It is an attempt to unify fragments of disparate styles and points of view into a coherent whole. I did my best to do right by these fine poets. I give my thanks to them for making this poem possible and for providing such reading pleasure as I hunted for lines.

Thanks again to the poets.



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Comments 41 comments

Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 5 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

I love it; a cool idea and well exicuted.


carol3san profile image

carol3san 5 years ago from Hollywood Florida

Great Idea, and a great poem as well.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Brave man, Tom. And it worked. Lovely.

Ian


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas

You did it! What an amazing job. The interesting thing was I kept getting the "I've heard this before" feeling as I read it. After looking at the various original authors I realized I had read many of their respective poems. I'm glad I agreed to be a part of this. You are a master - congratulations and thank you for the invite.

Bookmarking - Voted up and across - sharing too! :)


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Absolute perfection. Beautiful, soulful, lovely. Sigh. I'm sharing all over the place, Tom!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

I am humbled to be given space amongst these fine poets in this masterful bold approach to The Cento. Bravo, I applaud you and I thank you sir.


ExoticHippieQueen 5 years ago

What an intriguing piece, Tom! Just chock full of delicious imagery, it draws your eyes to the next line at lightning speed. I just love it. You did an amazing job, and I am honored that you included me in this talented group! Thank you!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

What a pleasant surprise! This is so unigue and cleverly done. Your poetry is beautiful. Thank you for including me. Cheers


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Ah, "my" poetry :) But it is all yours! I am so happy you all approve. I felt the pressure a surgeon must feel. A poet's poetry is a sacred thing.

Before I forget, special thanks to Randy Behavior for her editing help.

Thank you all once again for agreeing to let me use your work. It was quite an adventure!


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

My favorite part of this is being sandwiched between so many wonderful poets!

This is not an easy undertaking Tom, snaps of fingers and gold stars to you.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 5 years ago from United States

Very enjoyable! I think you did a terrific job of bringing it all together. How does this differ from the poetic form called Mosaic or Composite Verse? Or is it the same?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Randy, for that lovely mental picture :) and thank you for your help on this project.

Thanks, Jeriliee! I may be mistaken, but I thought that in mosaic poetry the poets are more in control where their line is placed, whereas composite verse is poetry that incorporates very different kinds of poetry in the same poem - free verse and iambic pentameter, or rhyming and prose. But since I have not researched either one, I am not completely sure. On the surface, they sound like they could be the same as a cento.


juneaukid profile image

juneaukid 5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

A fascinating experiment and I congratulate you for your noble effort to bring this cento into fruition.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

tom, you sneaky fellow! Now I have to come back to this hub and back again, until I have linked every poet with every linked line. (Which will, I admit, be a cozy pleasure.)

When you told me what you planned to do, I never envisioned such honed magnificence. Truly! I am humbled to be a simple stitch among the golden threads that shaped your patchwork quilt. Thanks so much for including me.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

@Tom - Thank you so much for including me with this group of great writers. I'm very humbled and yet extremely gratified by this. It makes it all worth while. It's truly an honor. This looks like it took some work for sure! Great job!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, JK. Your great descriptions of place were very welcome additions to the poem.

Thank you for being included, Storyteller! I had great stuff to work with.

Suburban Poet, it was the most elusive poem I've worked on this month, but very satisfying to complete. . Thank you so much.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Back again to read more poetry. I believe November will be my Month of the Poet rather than Month of the Novel.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Tom, I keep appearing in your comments because there is more to say. This hub is like one of those Russian nesting dolls- there is so much more inside than initially meets the eye. I have discovered eleven new poems and nearly as many new poets, as I click on each link. I feel such gratitude; you have done more than write a Cento. You are promoting poetry and poets and generating thought processes that might lie dormant. You are introducing people in this gathering place, generating warmth and light. I cannot thank you enough. I look forward to discovering more poetic links tomorrow.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I have a couple of those dolls which I bought in the market square in Kharkov, The Ukrains, Storytellersrus.

They are called "Metrushka" there. All hand made and they fit together so sweetly that unless one knew...


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Very cool idea and it flows so well, even though it's taken from so many poems. Lovely.


kimberlyslyrics 5 years ago

Tom, whew thought I was last for a minute! Not that it's important or anything nor being first would have been critical to my self esteem either OMG ha

Dude this is just an awesome concept, really entwines pieces of the community together on many levels, honours fellow writers, is pleasing to read and as far as a hub beautifully laid out!

You went over the top with this one my friend and thank you for thinking of me [think first picture lol]

I love these other writers also

Thank you Tom for an original and inspiring piece!

Be cool

Kimberly


kimberlyslyrics 5 years ago

Tom I'm putting this on my blog and profile!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks again Storyteller. That was the idea - to tighten up the HP poet community with a little TLC. I am so pleased it worked, and I hope everyone who reads the poem clicks the links and meets all the poets.

Thank you, Anginwu!

Thank you so much, Kim. Your work presented may rich opportunities for me to choose from to help me complete the cento. Thank you for promoting it, too! :)


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii

You rocked the form to perfection! I'm so honored to have been able to be a part of your elaborate, elegant, and entertaining poem! Outstanding job, Tom!! :)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

I'm very much honored by your (and all the poets') approval. I am glad you enjoyed it. The best part was reading you and all the rest. Thank you!


Ann 5 years ago

Fluid and well written, Deep shadowy depths and a great poem Tom! :)

http://ravensartshack.blogspot.com/2011/10/torque-...


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Raven, for your praise and for allowing me to use lines from your work.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What an interesting an unique way to write a poem. Unique to me as I've never seen this done before.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

You have certainly created a thought-provoking work, Tom. Kudos!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

It was a fun project, but hard work, too, Susan! Thank you.

Thanks, RedElf!


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 5 years ago

Wonderfully done Tom! Thank you for introducing me to all these lovely poets and their wonderful works. I feel particularly honoured. Thank you. :)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Tom, I had to come back to thank you for introducing me to all of these really talented poets. I've had the pleasure of reading some and i will certainly read them all. I Dearly love this Hubville community..Cheers


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 5 years ago

Thank you Tom for writing this Cento, I read so many wonderful poets and their works just because of this. I feel deeply honoured and you are very talented.


ragnarsj profile image

ragnarsj 5 years ago from Faroe Islands

Well done! :-)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Qudsia! Thanks again for letting me use lines from your work. I noticed when I was on earlier that you were visiting poets from the cento and commenting. That is truly wonderful, and that was exactly why I composed this poem.

I only scratched the surface of the poetry here on HP, Ruby. There are so many good poets. I always say, poets are the best audience for poetry. Here on HP, there is already a sense of community between poets. I hope this cento reinforces and encourages that sense of community.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Back again. It's been a very long weekend.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

fyi, when I click on horizon, I am sent to a Blogger warning spot...


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Glad you're back! Yes, Raven's site has a warning on it. It's rated kind of PG-13 I think.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

"Hoping to see a familiar face". Another x-rated poem? Is this also Ravens?

I appreciate what you have done here, Tom. I discovered poets with voices relating experiences I understand, while others transported me where I have never been. I learned fresh approaches to poetry and what poetry might become.

I wonder how your poetry slams are progressing. Some of these hard hitting poems would have done well, if my memory holds.

Thanks again for doing the work. I feel humbled, yet motivated.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States Author

Ah, Storyteller, I rarely write a poem three minutes long. But I love going and listening to the slams. I love reading at open mike, too. This poem has had a very nice effect. Thank you!


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 5 years ago

What a unique poetic style. This was a lovely result, too.

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