Cento – after WG Sebald’s ‘Rings of Saturn’

Form for All: Collage and the Art of the Cento

Samuel Peralta:

“A collage is an artistic technique, whereby a piece of artwork is assembled from fragments of art from numerous sources, creating a new whole.”

Here is my collage taken from WG Sebald’s “Rings of Saturn”.

1
I set off to walk in the hope of dispelling the emptiness…
under the sign of the Dog Star…

2
the colourless patch of sky
framed in the window,
a reality I feared had vanished forever
draped with black netting

3
the body is open to contemplation
this hand is most peculiar
Rembrant’s picture
proves on closer examination
more apparent then real
a transposition taken
from the anatomical atlas…

4
the white mist
clouds our brain

5
a grey, overcast day
soot up to the windows
the few passengers
sat in half light
facing the engine
so silent

6
From the footpath that runs
along grassy dunes
I have often found
tent-like shelters
along the pebble beach.
Out on the leaden-coloured sea
a sailing boat kept me company
motionless

7
i went to the edge of the cliff,
I was standing on perforated ground,
as it were, which might have given way
at any moment.

8
Far off in front of me
the rain clouds dispersed…

9
Darkness was falling
only the lighthouse…
still caught the last luminous rays…

10
Footsore and weary
I sat…

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23 thoughts on “Cento – after WG Sebald’s ‘Rings of Saturn’

  1. So well done – especially –

    From the footpath that runs
    along grassy dunes
    I have often found
    tent-like shelters
    along the pebble beach.
    Out on the leaden-coloured sea
    a sailing boat kept me company
    motionless

  2. I know of him only by reputation, and because of that I’ve always meant to take up Sebald’s “Rings of Saturn”… Your cento makes me want to seek him out. Wonderfully evocative, and a perfect example of a single-sourced cento.

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