Awakened, He Turns to the Wall (Cento)


Awakened, He Turns to the Wall (Cento) 

Then, everything slept.
Where were you before the day?

You see here the influence of inference,
whereby things might be seen in another light,

as if the trees were not indifferent, as if
a hand had suddenly erased a huge

blackboard, only, I thought there was
something even if I call it nothing,

like the river stretching out on its
deathbed. No one jumps off.

* * *

A cento is composed of lines from poems by other poets. This originated from pieces by: Larry Levis, Jacques Roubaud, Lorine Niedecker, Gustaf Sobin, Denise Levertov, Elizabeth Spires, William Bronk, Vicente Huidobro, Ingebord Bachmann

For further information and examples of the form, you might peruse the Academy of American Poets site:


17 thoughts on “Awakened, He Turns to the Wall (Cento)

  1. But the title is yours? That in itself is a poem. I just listened to Remains if the Day and your title could be the summation of Stevens arc in the story.
    Is each line a line from another poem, or do you have the flexibility to split lines according to your whims? It has such a curious effect. Like looking into a kaleidoscope.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I picked up a few books of poetry along with my usual 7 or 8 fiction . I love words and I love reading. My problem is retaining what I read. This is intriguing (Nadia) and I would love to read some more from you and whoever else is going to try writing a cento.

    Liked by 1 person

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