|The cento is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets; the name comes from the Latin word for "patchwork." (The name is pronounced "sin-toe" in English, "chin-toe" in Italian, and "kin-toe" in Latin... Pick one!) Even though poets often borrow lines from other writers and mix them in with their own, a true cento is composed entirely of lines from other sources. Modern centos are often witty, creating irony or humor from the juxtaposition of images and ideas.
In the example on the right, the stanzas are lines originally written by Christina Rossetti, John Greenleaf Whittier, Sir Walter Scott, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
In the bleak mid-winter,
The sun that brief December day
Heap on more wood! The wind is chill,
I heard the bells on Christmas day