Cento – a literary mix tape

For those who don’t know, a cento is a sort of mix tape. A compiling of lines from one poet or various poets put together. Traditionally centos rhyme, but since a) I don’t really rhyme much of the time (ha) and b) I don’t read poets who rhyme, mine don’t. So here is the first of them. This is from the works of Osip Mandelstam:

This life is terrifying for the two of us:

The villager’s horse stumbles,

A familiar hello thunders at the door,

An oppressive darkness gargles,

The night has swallowed up the spiny sticklebacks.

Now Zeus with the golden fingers

Has gone a little hoarse.

It seems that he was shy of dying

For the swollen lips, and for the tight embrace

The painter has portrayed for us:

The dishevelment of space,

The meaning of light.

You lie far over the mountain,

Unknown to anyone,

Holding octagonal honeycombs in your hands.

An inexpressible sadness

Stirs from long sleep across the rough haycocks.

The centuries surround me with fire,

Sounds, tears and toil,

Dresses and blouses of butterfly

And the sensible purple inks

I see before me.


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