Poetry Friday: Happy birthday, Eisha!

h1 August 17th, 2007 by jules

a fabulous cake from Magpie's in Knoxville, TennesseeIt’s not only Poetry Friday, a definite cause for celebration in our book any ‘ol week, but today is Eisha’s birthday! Happy birthday to her!

This might be a real stretch, but here’s what I did for her birthday, which happens to fall on the day we celebrate poetry: I wrote a cento! Having been inspired to create one, thanks to a post over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, I decided for my cento (a poem made entirely of pieces from poems by other authors) to be created from lyrics from some of Eisha’s favorite songs. Yes, each line of the cento is from a different song. It was harder than I thought, but I hope she at least gets a kick out of it, recognizing the words from some of her favorite tunes. The songs from which each line comes (and the musicians) are listed below the cento.

Did I, ahem, mention it’s a stretch? And it was too difficult to make a cheery, happy birthday-esque one. But it was fun, and I hope it makes a modicum of sense.

Happy birthday, Eisha! Here’s your birthday cento, pieced together from some of your favorite songs . . .

How can I believe that everything in this world is going to be fine?
Just a shakin’ in my knees, just a cold chill.
My own hound-dog sat right down and cried.

I’m going where the water tastes like wine.
Can I get away again tonight?
(We will meet later to finalize the details)
I’ll find a soapbox where I can shout it
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

All I could think of was sunlight.

Who made up all the rules?
We follow them like fools.

I’m feeling thankful
for the small things today.
Dig me a hot coffee
Under a lilac tree.
Keep my soul away from harm.
Life is crazy.
You gotta fight for your right
to party.

Well, it’s just a simple fact:
I just want to play on my panpipes.
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo.

If I get home before daylight,
I just might get some sleep tonight.

Well, I gave it my best shot. Ain’t gonna win any poetry awards, yo. Plus, I couldn’t get Kadir Nelson to pop out of that cake (pictured above) for Eisha, which I’m sure she’d prefer. By the way, that cake is one made by the fabulous Magpies in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I hope they forgive me for lifting the image. I wish Eisha and I were sitting and eating that cake right now. With a yummy cup of joe, too. Mmmm.

Happy birthday, Eisha!

* * * * * * *

Here are the songs from whence those lyrics came . . .

50 comments to “Poetry Friday: Happy birthday, Eisha!”

  1. Happy birthday, Eisha!

    Jules, I’d never heard of a cento before, but now I totally want to do one composed of song lyrics, too. That is such a great idea.

  2. Happy birthday, Eisha! I am toasting you even now with my first coffee of the day. I will toast you again with my second, which I predict will arrive in about one hour.

    Jules, How amazing is that poem? I love watching Trisha’s poetry challenges, but I’ve been kind of chicken about trying one. This is great, though, such a fun interpretation of the challenge. Rock on!

  3. Eisha, happy, happy in all things today! And if you ever do get Kadir Nelson to burst out of a cake for you, well, I want to BE THERE…

    jules: wow. So great. I loved recognizing lyrics as I read, like: “All I could think of was sunshine.” And “make me a poster of an old rodeo.” Oh, how I love that beautiful song…

    Now all we need is a podcast of eisha rocking out to her birthday cento.

  4. Happy Birthday Eisha! Here’s to an awesome, rockin’ day.

    This birthday cento is awesome, Jules! Must be nice to be blessed with a creative gene.

  5. Happy EishaGras! May you have a fabulous year, dearie! xxx G

  6. Happy birthday, Eisha! Jules, that is a brilliant poem. I want to write a million and one centos now. It’s like the fanfic of poetry.

  7. Happy Birthday!

  8. Happy Birthday from me and Rick! We hope you’re happy and settled in your new home!

    Have you read “Into the WIld” by Sarah Beth Durst?

  9. Well, then, poetry and birthday wishes all in one! What a great combination. Happy B’day, Eisha. Excellent execution on the Cento and thanks for including the song list — I’d have been begging for it otherwise. That’d be a fun mashup to hear!

  10. Happy birthday, Eisha! And good work on the cento, Jules — forms always sound easier than they turn out to be, but you did a great job!

  11. Congratulations, Jules! Well done!


    Happy Birthday to you, Eisha! Hope you have a great day in your new home!

  12. Happy Birthday Eisha! I’m supposed to be in a work meeting now, so I have to run, but I wanted to get this out before my day got too crazy.

    Hope it’s wonderful!

  13. Thanks, everyone. You’re too, too kind. I thought that cento was a stretch, but I did the very best I could.

    Sara and David, yes, it’d be great to actually hear the songs, no? Well, I’ll try to embed this YouTube coverage of Cracker live in ’06, singing “Happy Birthday to Me.” It’s not the most riveting video, but anyone who wants to hear the song can.

    {We’ll see if I can even get a YouTube video to show up in a comment box … this is all new to me}.

  14. That is so sweet, jules.

    Happy birthday, Eisha! 🙂

  15. Okay, I’m sorry. Humor me. Now that I’ve figured it out . . . One more song that I know Eisha loves, and I just can’t help myself, ’cause it’s PAUL! Having Paul Simon on a Poetry Friday is a fitting thing. And Sara likes to dance around to this music anyway. So, Eisha can dance for her b’day, and Sara can reap the rewards of the gift.

    (This was live in Central Park) . . .

  16. Happy Birthday Eisha! What a great tribute to all your favorite music. I’m glad to have the song list too. Wonderful Cento Jules!

  17. Wow I am so impressed with the uTube links! Thanks for my morning burst of Paul.


    This is just too perfect. Jules, you are the BEST friend anyone could ever have. And apparently you’re a poet, and I didn’t know it. Thank you, THANK YOU for the sweetest best present ever.

    And thanks, everyone else who stopped by. Jules, did you do one of your sneaky emails again?

    Doesn’t that poem just rock? And wouldn’t that be a great mix CD?

  19. Cento…let’s see here…

    Climbing up on Solsbury hill, I could see the city light
    Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
    Light is bright like white light
    Maybe you’re blinded
    Sixteen Candles make a lovely light
    (repeat and add this last line as many times as needed)

    heh, heh

  20. Great job, Jules. You did a great job with the stretch. I think it’s a fabulous way to wish someone special a happy day.

    Happy birthday, Eisha. Can’t wait to meet you both in Chicago!

  21. Aw, my husband’s a poet too! Who knew? Thanks, B.

    But that Bennie & the Jets quote only applies if you’re referring to the Beastie Boys/Biz Markie version.

  22. Superific poem!!
    Happy b-day Eisha!!
    How’s ur new home??
    How’s Library world?

  23. Wow, that cento is awesome. Happy Birthday, Eisha!!


    Nope, that’s not it…


    That’s not it either… Hang on, I know this one…


    Have a great one…

    And Jules, you’re awesome !

  25. How could I have quoted any other?

    Got to keep it going keep it going full steam.

  26. Happy Birthday Eisha!!! Enjoy the virtual chocolate cake that Jules made you along with her fine, fine cento.

  27. Thanks again to all the newcomers! And HEY, Jason! Ithaca is great. I don’t have a job yet, but have a few resumes floating around – will keep you posted.

    And Janice and Rick – hello! Janice, I haven’t read Into the Wild, but if you’re recommending it, I’ll check it out.

  28. Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain
    Don’t send me no doctor,
    But you must be living’ right.
    And I ain’t lyin’ (just a little bit):

    Happy birthday!

    (with apologies to Aretha F.)

  29. Oh Susan, thanks. Now I wanna put some Aretha in my CD player.

  30. Happy Birthday Eisha!!

    ..and magnifi cento, Jules!!!


    We shall celebrate with Moosewood, eh?

    — The Other Adrienne

  32. Happy happy birthday to you, m’dear! And well done, Jules.

    May I have some cake?

  33. Happy Birthday, Eisha!! Many happy returns, etc., etc. I hope you have a fantabulous day.

    Jules–you are a true poet and a truer friend 🙂

    May all your wishes come true (even the one about becoming a lady matador).

    Jules — your cento is beyond amazing.
    lots of time and care went into that. wow.

  35. And now I shall sing to you, Eisha, the song my sibs sing to me…

    Hippo, birdies, two ewes…
    Hippo, birdies, two ewes.
    Hippo, birdies deer aardvark!

    …well, you get the idea. Happy b-day, bud.

  36. Ooh, where are my manners? Yes, by all means, everybody, have some cake! And thanks for all the continuing birthday wishes. And the highly original song, TadMack, and the new Aretha cento, Susan!

  37. happy birthday, eisha! i owe you all kinds of emails, coming soon. missed you at a sleepy meeting this morning.


  38. Happy Birthday, Pretend Cousin! Obviously your day has already gotten off to the total Birthday Princess start. I hope you know the rules and are stretching this birthday out for at least a week, possibly a month (“It’s my birthday month. I don’t do dishes.”).

    Jules, excellent work with what is obviously some tough material. Why can’t Eisha listen to easy tunes like Barry Manilow or Earth, Wind, and Fire? Such a head banger.

    Anyway, enjoy your day, B-day Princess. I hope Jules did make you cry big snotty sobs. She’s a nice friend, I’d say.

  39. Happy Birthday Eisha! We miss you here in Boston! I’ll have a beer at Charlie’s in your honor…

  40. Okay, now I’m crying again. Big, snotty sobs, as you so daintily described them, Robin.

    I miss you guys too!

  41. Happy happy happy birthday to yououououuuu!

    The cento was really cool, I too want to make one now. 🙂

    Hope your day is filled with laughter and books! 😀

  42. Happy Birthday, Eisha!!! And Jules, that poem is a way cool gift, to Eisha and to all of us.

  43. Happy Birthday Eisha – it has been delight getting to know you this year!

  44. Happy Birthday, Eisha.


  45. Yea!!! This is fabulous and I only wish I could hear you sing it, Jules!

    Happy, happy, happy Eisha.
    And many more…


  46. Happy belated bday, Eisha. What a great little cento that Jules put together. Love it. Hope your day was filled with fun.

  47. This is incredibly belated–I got lost in a pile of e-mail for several days–but happy birthday, eisha!!

  48. Belated b’day wishes are just as nice. Thanks, everybody!

  49. […] daunting idea, but the results are often inspiring. Even Jules got up the gumption to participate, composing a cento in honor of Eisha’s birthday this […]

  50. […] last year for my birthday you wrote me an original poem. I have no such skill, so instead I’m throwing you a virtual party. I’m including all […]

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