"Life is the dancer and you are the dance."
Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Sparrows Talk" We Write Poems #53-Centered Cento

Barefoot, gingerly walking on the small, sharp rocks,
naked along the side of the house
8 a.m., spreading sesame seed oil
over my body, Jesus, have I come
to this?
A small plane passes overhead;
I look upward as if it made sense to
look upward.
I cry when it’s fashionable to laugh;
now I’m not laughing
Things are made of something and
go to nothing  
I only did to you what the sparrow did to you
I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love

"back to the machine gun"                    
"As the sparrow"

*I chose Charles Bukowski  because he is gritty, in your face and interesting.
You can see what he´s writing and he's just really damn good.


  1. Oh thanks for this poem Pamela! It near launches itself like an arrow from a bow, very energetic, wonderful lines that you've collected and shared with us here. My appreciation for cento poems grows. Maybe we should make it a regular periodic event.

    Well framed, this poem. The "look upward" and doing "what the sparrow did" really sets this all into wonderful motion. A pleasure to read.

  2. Well written cento composed with well chosen lines, Pamela. I like Charles Bukowski too. My favorite here is "I only did to you what the sparrow did to you."

  3. Okay. I want a fresh cento for my tryout :-) I like your choices and how Bukowski's grittiness becomes yours.

  4. "I cry when it's fashionable to laugh." That was my Bukowski "ah-hah" moment, because I have a hard time memorizing poetry.

    Comment on your question regarding whether it's OK to "tweak:" A cento is literally defined as, "a poetical work wholly composed of verses or passages taken from other authors; only disposed in a new form or order."

    I told the writer of the post that some poets take forms very seriously and so would never tweak. I'm a free spirit, and I don't judge, but wanted you to have the "heads up."

    If you're writing a purist cento, I think tweaking is frowned upon. Now you know why I rarely write in forms at all - I'm a free verse mama because I hate rules!! Nevertheless, here is my cento, tweak-free (which I wasn't happy with, because I ached to edit...!)

  5. Bukowski. I like.

    The stitching together of these lines creates an unusual and coherent picture, from the very beginning to the end.

    I'm not a purist, and in a weird way, I admire those who pulled on the cento in a more purist way. I "tweaked".

    Anyway, very well done.


  6. I tweaked as well, even added a word or two. I see nothing wrong with that. You chose Bukowshi, but the way you put the lines together comes directly from Pamela. There is a flow here that is recognizably Pamela. So, now you know. You can be gritty and up in your face as well. Isn't that great to know?

    I think that might be the best lesson in doing this particular exercise. Learning new ways to listen to the words and how they might go in other ways.

    Really like what you accomplished here,


  7. Pamela- This is beautiful and thought-provoking. I especially like the opening images and question.

  8. Pamela, I love the voice in this; so different from your poetry - and yet it's yours. I love that sentence about looking upward. I'm not familiar with Charles Bukowski, but you have piqued my interest.


  9. Nicely done. It feels as if the things unsaid are what finish the poem. I love writing that leaves a bit to the imagination of the reader. Such a great partnership then. Thanks.

  10. I went to read some of his poems, and wow. You developed the piece really well, Pamela. Thanks for introducing me to him.

  11. Thanks for the nice comments, much appreciated.