Tuesday Tryouts: The Cento

The Tuesday Tryout for this week is a cento poem.  This is a new form for me.  Margo provided some good direction and also referenced We Write Poems for further explanation.  Both are proposing the cento form this week.  Basically, you pick an author you like.  Then you take one or two lines from poems that they have written (at least five different poems); shooting for 10-15 lines.  Then the fun begins.  You mix up the lines, without changing the words, and make a new poem.  Here’s my shot at it.

Poet: Mary Oliver

Poems (in no paticular order): Rain 3; Peonies; Field Near London, Alabama; Gannets; Alligator Poem; Poppies; Water Snake

He lifted up
his chary face
and looked at me
with his gravel eyes.
Who was that motionless muddy man?
Life is real
and pain is real
but death is an imposter.

Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying.
For hours in my trembling hands they glittered
like fire.
The grass rises thick and clean, it
shines like the sea.


12 thoughts on “Tuesday Tryouts: The Cento

  1. I love the lines. I am going to have to do some reading of Mary Oliver. I hope you enjoyed the cento as a form and continue to play with them if you do.

  2. Annette, first time on your blog, and it's because of the cento prompt at We Write Poems. This was beautifully reconstructed. Loved the poppies; they will resonate in my memory today.Here's mine, and thanks! Amy Barlow Liberatorehttp://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/womens-work-a-cento/

  3. I do cherish my one humble and silky life. I do. That's what Oliver's poetry constantly reminds. This is a lovey construction with an exquisite ending.~Brenda

  4. You chose some wonderful images and they were made stronger by their contrast. I got to the end and thought, "Wait! Where's the rest of the story?" Thank you for your tale.

  5. Okay, now I have to read some Mary Oliver. I like the transition from the first stanza to the second, leaving off with death and then the green grass with its "terror beneath". I love those last two lines.Richard

  6. You're the second person I noticed using Mary Oliver for this prompt….and I really like how you stitched these lines together. I also like how you juxtaposed death with life in this piece. ("but death is an imposter" versus the image in the third stanza, which is a concrete and beautiful affirmation of life)-Nicole

  7. Like orange flares, swaying. Each stanza a brightness of its' own, yet the transitions adding more than more, making spaces wondering might fly right into, and then… I appreciate this sort of wonderment. Seems to me this sort of poem all the more invites the reader inside, become participant. Nicely done.And Mary Oliver was my source poet as well this time around. Centos I think are an excellent self educating process for writers. Thanks for yours.

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