The Landscape Listens – a cento

The Landscape Listens – a cento

But westward look, the land is bright!
Under the sunset’s flush
how often have I bless’d the coming day
with magic in my eyes
flushed, and the skyline pulsed
with the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time
blue, ruby, gold and green between the whiteness of the walls
enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But have you wine and music still?
When it comes, the landscape listens.
By the deep Sea, and the music in its roar
there are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
listening to the winds and crickets call.
The moping owl does to the moon complain
the young birds are chirping in the nest
that’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over.

I also love a quiet place
trembling with tenderness
a time of indolence and drifting life.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
part of a moon was falling down the west
when the soul slept in beams of light.
I love all beauteous things
arranging and changing placing.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly


With all the poem-reading of National Poetry Month, are you collecting a lot of great lines? Don’t just store them – weave them into a Cento.

I got the idea to write a cento from a prompt by Adele Kenny

Here is her challenge:

Cento is the Latin word for patchwork (as in patchwork quilt). In poetry, a cento is made entirely of lines taken from poems by other authors. The rules are simple: no more than one line may be taken from any one poem; any number of quotes is acceptable; and centos may be rhymed or unrhymed. Remember that “borrowing” other poets’ words is typically regarded as an honorific practice when the work is well-done and sources are properly credited. Be sure to provide credits (usually at the end of your poem).

Read her entire post

I hauled out my high school poetry textbook and renewed acquaintance with a lot of old favourites to compose my Cento – as you’ll recognize by the credits.

Line 1: Arthur Hugh Clough – “Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth:
Line 2: Wilfred Campbell – “The Winter Lakes”
Line 3: Oliver Goldsmith – “The Village”
Line 4: Thomas Hardy – “When I Set Out for Lyonesse”
Line 5: Earle Birney – “David”
Line 6: Bliss Carman – “Vagabond Song”
Line 7: John Betjeman – “Sunday Morning, King’s Cambridge”
Line 8: Samuel Taylor Coleridge – “Kubla Khan”

Line 9: James Elroy Flecker – “To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence”
Line 10: Emily Dickinson – “There’s a Certain Slant of Light”
Line 11: Lord Byron – “The Ocean”
Line 12: Rupert Brooke – “The Dead”
Line 13: Frank Oliver Call – “The Old Habitant”
Line 14: Thomas Gray – “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”
Line 15: Elizabeth Barrett Browning – “The Cry of the Children”
Line 16: Robert Browning – “Home Thoughts From Aborad”

Line 17: W. H. Davies – “The Kingfisher”
Line 18: T. S. Eliot – “The Hollow Men”
Line 19: Charles Bruce – “The Hayfield”
Line 20: Matthew Arnold – “Dover Beach”
Line 21: Robert Frost – “Death of the Hired Man”
Line 22: William Blake – “Auguries of Innocence”
Line 23: Robert Bridges – “I Love All Beauteous Things”
Line 24: E. E. Cummings – “Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand”

This post is linked at One Shot Wednesday Week 43

6 thoughts on “The Landscape Listens – a cento”

  1. yours is such a beautiful and appreciative poem…so many aspects of life before us each day and we don’t see it…you’ve brought out the reasons i so want to contemplate every moment i am blessed with being alive…it has been a joy reading your words that feel so good to behold…”but have you wine and music still?” “when it comes the landscape listens”…beautiful concept and analogies…the music of nature, its nectar like a wine fermented to perfection…goodness, i see so many visions inside your poem…thank you for this one…great writing…i will hold onto your words and be a better person for it…


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