And how the silence surged softly backward

The earth keeps some vibration going:

The hoarse leaves crawl on hissing ground,

Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick.

The warning whispers pass

With songs of misery, music of our woes.

 

My soul, dressed in silence, rises up.

Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn

With only our tongues for our swords

And learn to chaunt a tongue men do not know–

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

 

My attempt at a cento. The title is from Walter De La Mare’s “Listeners.”


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24 thoughts on “And how the silence surged softly backward

    1. Thanks for reading. That may be my favorite line of the whole thing–and I was thinking I really need to read more of Kipling’s poetry!

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    1. Thank you. I had so much fun strewing my desk with poetry anthologies, being inspired by old favorites and those I’d either missed or undervalued. 🙂 I would definitely do another!

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  1. Yay, Jennifer! This is wonderful. The sounds in each line respond to one another beautifully. I think we looked at the same source material — I was digging into my Norton Intro to Poetry, which has completely fallen apart over the years but contains such treasures.

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  2. Wow, wow, WOW! I love this beautiful creations so much. It’s funny because it sounds so you! I never would have guessed it was a cento for that reason, but also because it flows so beautifully. All those sounds! I envisioned pulling out my old poetry anthologies, too, but then a story I had lurking in my archives for months sort of finished itself. Next week!

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    1. Your supersweet and generous words got me thinking about how much my writing has been influenced, and by whom…it’s possible that any time I sit down to write, there is some Yeats pulsing in my subconscious… 🙂

      I’m looking forward to reading a cento by Silverleaf!

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        1. I’m curious now about everyone’s line-searching technique. I just copied out lots and lots of lines that seemed to loosely go with the prompt, then played with them until I saw a pattern and dumped all the ones that didn’t fit. Trying again today. I might have to go back and find a few happier lines because it’s all pretty dark at the moment.

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          1. Ha! I did EXACTLY that, minus linking it to the prompt. I looked up some of my favourite poets, copied out lines from the poems I clicked on and then developed a theme or storyline around what started to emerge. Sometimes I think it makes sense, sometimes I think it sounds disjointed… I wouldn’t worry about dark; dark can be good!

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