Wysteria covered pathways

Image by :: Wendy :: via Flickr

On the dawn you danced before me,
An only child alone and wild.
There we fell.

Wysteria, did he teach you how to dance?
Did he bring you paper fans to hide your secret?

It’s life and it’s dying,
and I touched her on the sleeve–
Tried to reach beyond the emptiness but neither one knew how.
Yearnings unanswered . . .

Do they still bloom just
At night and die at sunrise?
Memories’ mirrors?

Falling tears,
Burning your eyes,
But in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw doubt or gratitude.
It’s the way it’s been done since the old days.

Where are the children that we
used to be?

My life has been a poor attempt
Denied a simpler fate.

To save his heart,
Capture the moment
As the flicker of the candles
And the morning will blow away
Where our wishes forever reside.


This poem is a cento, from the prompt at We Write Poems.  What is a cento?  I didn’t know either, but it was fun.

First gather some poem lines from one other writer (from one or more poems they’ve written), then without changing any of the content (beyond simple punctuation perhaps) select, rearrange and assemble a new poem from those poem lines.

I did this and chose, as one of my fellow contributors did a musician.  Mine was Dan Fogelberg.  We were to choose a writer that moves us, that we turn to for light and renewal.  I love Fogelberg’s lyrics and wondered what I might do with them.  The above was created from lines from his songs “The Innocent Age,” “Wysteria,” “The Reach,” “Dancing Shoes,” “Leader of the Band,” “Same Auld Lang Syne,” and “Only the Heart May Know.”

Who do you read or listen to when you need a lift?

About T A Hillin-Smith

Just one of the literacy scholars on this site who wants to explore writing in all its complexities.
This entry was posted in Cento, Interesting Blogs, Poetry, Prompts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Memories

  1. neil reid says:

    Thanks for joining in with this cento prompt. A very pleasing result you produced. Some more jagged (also fine), some, like here, smooth as water is – blended well.

    I think cento poems can provide an opportunity to expand poetic vocabulary and sensibility. Nice job you did here.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      neil reid,
      Thank you very much for your visit and your comment. I really appreciate your critique. It’s not easy to be objective about one’s own writing. I welcome any observations and suggestions you have. I agree with you about the opportunities cento offer. I think my local writing group may try some this summer. Thank you again for your visit.

  2. lesliepaints says:

    Beautiful poem, Yousei. Sounds like some fun had with this one. Did you copy the lyrics, cut the lines in strips and rearrange? I would have had to. I am not a writer but might try this with lyrics from songs written by Bernie Taupin for Elton John. I have liked his songs forever it seems. I am also quite liking both Adel CD’s, lately. Can’t get enough of them. I think it would be fun to rearrange the lyrics and collage them into a painting. Maybe something I can get to before summer ends.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Yes! That’s exactly what I did, but electronically. I love your painting idea. These kinds of exercises really do seem to spark creativity. I look forward to seeing your lyric inspired painting. 🙂

  3. rdl says:

    i love this, speaks volumes to me.

  4. Yousei, as promised, here I am, and thanks again for visiting my blog.

    The moment I read “my life has been a poor attempt,” I could actually hear Fogelberg singing in my mind. What a lovely take on the cento prompt, especially since lyrics are poetry! The “whispered” lines, indented, set off from the main structure of the poem, worked very well indeed.

    Thanks so much, Amy

    PS I write songs as well as poems; in fact, started off as a songwriter, so you may be interested in this posting, which takes you to my music site to hear the poem sung:

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Sharp Little Pencil,
      Love your blog name and appreciate your visit and comment. I can’t help but hear him as I read the lines. I’ve always liked his voice and the poetry of his lyrics. I agree that the indentations create a different feel (happy it occurred to me). I will definitely be visiting your music site. Looking forward to it.

  5. Wow! Good use of Fogelberg. I never thought of using musical lyrics although I regard all song lyrics as poetry set to notes. I enjoyed the flow and compliment of the lines.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Donald Harbour,
      Thank you. I had the same thoughts about music until a professor showed our class several lyrics. This is before lyrics were included with albums. Now I always look for the poetry in music. I’m glad you enjoyed my cento. Come back any time.

  6. pamelasayers says:

    Beautifully woven lines.


  7. Mr. Walker says:

    This is beautiful. I’m not familiar with Dan Fogelberg, so thanks for introducing me to some lovely lines. I really like the indented stanzas, how the first two are about flowers, and the third about children – who are also flowers.


    • Yousei Hime says:

      Mr. Walker,
      I’m a bit surprised you’re unfamiliar with Fogelberg, but then again, I had never heard of Whitesnake and Warrant until I married my husband. I appreciate you noting the indentations. I felt it created more of a conversation or shift in memory. I love how each reading, each meaning, is more a part of the reader the the author. Thank you for taking the time to stop, read and create meaning.

  8. 1sojournal says:

    What a wonderful patchwork. I did recognize the lyrics from “Leader of the Band” one of my very favorites. This is a good exercise to get that creative fire burning brightly.


    • Yousei Hime says:

      “Leader of the Band” is also one of my favorites. Yes, I look forward to the next cento prompt. Thank you for the visit and compliment.

  9. Irene says:

    You put the lines together in such a lovely way. I didn’t know Dan Fogelberg’s a poet musician.

  10. Mary says:

    I love your choice of poet, Dan Fogelberg, and I love what you did with this. “Where are the children we used to be?” An age-old question! I found writing Centos a lot of fun!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Welcome. The quote you mentioned is from the title song of his The Innocent Age album. It is one of my favorite songs on the album, and it asks wonderful poignant questions. I too really enjoyed the cento exercise. It helps that we could choose our favorite writers and borrow from their writings, our favorite phrases. I look forward to trying a few more, especially when my own creative energies are dragging. This exercise really fired me up. 😉

      • Mary says:

        I know I will be trying more Centos too. The form really resonates with me. Actually I often use a line of poetry from a poet whose works I enjoy to launch a poem, but a Cento is definitely MORE than that. I will continue to check out your work!

  11. vivinfrance says:

    If you hadn’t explained, I’d never have known that this is a cento poem: it all hangs together so charmingly.

    Thank you for your visit to my blog.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Yay! Success! Avoiding the pieced-together feel was my primary goal, that and creating a story from the chosen lines. I’m glad you liked it. Thank you for your visit as well. Hope you’ll stop by again sometime.

  12. margo roby says:

    I am so glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment so I could discover your blog. I adore Dan Fogelberg, so thoroughly enjoyed what you did with his lines. Having been brought up by parents who loved anything Japanese and collected woodprints, I fell in love with your poetic rabbit. I hope I have a chance to stop by again.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      margo roby,
      Yay! I’m quite easily flattered and am currently basking in your comment. Fogelberg was a very good writer, I think. It was fun to stitch something together with his words. I definitely hope you will stop by. I’m looking forward to your visits and what we can share.

  13. LT says:

    Cool exercise! I recognized a couple of Fogelberg lines before I knew what you were up to. Too much time listening to the radio I guess :).

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Well . . . he is easy to listen to. I really love a couple of his albums (The Innocent Age is my favorite). I agree about the exercise. Maybe our group could try it sometime. Picking the images and creating the flow were the big challenges. Maybe next fall, after this summer’s poetry exercises?

  14. slpmartin says:

    A well crafted poem.

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