"It's Beautiful to Have Chosen"


Quicky prompt: write a Cento

Cento is Latin for "patchwork," and a cento poem is made up of lines from other poems.  I have a list of the poems used below.  The numbers correspond to the poem's lines.


Waking this morning,

my window shows the traveling clouds.

I am afraid.


I walk out of the city.

Over my head, I see a bronze butterfly.

I lift my head and watch.

I do not turn back.

My last walk in the trees has come.  At dawn,

as the moon climbs,

the dust of snow.


And the rain falls.

I thought of questions that have no reply.

But who was I?

What did I know, what did I know? 


Weary of myself, and sick of asking,

something is lost in me.

I have wasted my life.


It isn’t much to offer

to hang in a future sky,

but I say it’s fine.   Honest I do.

In the end,

it’s beautiful to have chosen.


Nobody likes to die.

©2021 Lisa Smith Nelson. All Rights Reserved

1.       Homage to Life, Jules Supervielle

2.       The Alchemist in the City, Gerald Manley Hopkins

3.       Fear, Pablo Neruda

4.       I Walk Out into the Country at Night, Lu Yu

5.       Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota, James Wright

6.       Thoughts in Exile, Su Tung Po

7.       A Transparent Autumn, Sadamu Fujiwara

8.       Solitude Late at Night in the Woods, Robert Bly

9.       Ars Poetica, Archibald MacLeish

10.   Dust of Snow, Robert Frost

11.   Tree, A. J. M. Smith

12.   The Tuft of Flowers, Robert Frost

13.   A Reason of Numbers, Josephine Jacobsen

14.   Those Winter Sundays, Robert Hayden

15.   The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S. Eliot

16.   Self-Depreciation, Matthew Arnold

17.   Man Thinking About Woman, Don L. Lee

18.   Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota, James Wright

19.   Visitors, Tu Fu

20.   Rock and Hawk, Robinson Jeffers

21.   A Song for the Front Yard, Gwendolyn Brooks



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