IN-FORM POET – PANTOUM

The PANTOUM consists of a series of quatrains rhyming ABAB, in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third line in the succeeding quatrain; each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD… In the last quatrain, the two unused lines from the opening quatrain are used to fill in the last stanza, with the first line of the poem becomes the last line of the poem (ZAZA). Walt’s example illustrates this traditional form of PANTOUM.

A variation of the PANTOUM loses the restrictions of the rhyme scheme as Marie Elena demonstrates.

MARIE ELENA’S PANTOUM:

Knitting Pantoums

It sounds like something I should knit.
I don’t know how
to knit a pair of pantoums.
It has me in stitches.

I don’t know how
my pantoums slipped off.
It has me in stitches.
Should I pick up and purl?

My pantoums slipped off
Don’t needle me.
Should I pick up and purl?
Just cast off?

Don’t needle me,
or I’ll unravel.
Just cast off.
Yarn over.

WALT’S PANTOUM:

MORE RAPID THAN EAGLES

I am Santa Claus, and we’re off in a leap and a bound,
there is no more playing games.
Get down to business and up off the ground,
just at the mere mention of their names.

There is no more playing games,
when they’re harnessed and driven.
Just at the mere mention of their names,
all their energies will be given.

When they’re harnessed and driven,
no crack of whip will entice them.
All their energies will be given,
there’ll be no need to de-ice them.

No crack of whip will entice them,
all of their names are their trigger.
There’ll be no need to de-ice them,
this workout only makes them seem bigger.

All of their names are their trigger,
on Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen.
This workout only makes them seem bigger,
Comet and Cupid, Donder and Blitzen.

On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen,
quickly give me the power I crave.
Comet and Cupid, Donder and Blitzen,
please release the reserve that you’ve saved.

Quickly give me the power I crave.
I must get this done in one night.
Please release the reserve that you’ve saved,
you’ll need it to get through this flight.

I must get this done in one night,
on this journey of spirit and love.
You’ll need it to get through this flight,
more rapid than eagles they are up above.

On this journey of spirit and love,
get down to business and up off the ground.
More rapid than eagles they are up above,
I am Santa Claus, and we’re off in a leap and a bound.

162 thoughts on “IN-FORM POET – PANTOUM

  1. I love a challenge like this…
    Let’s see if I have it right…

    A ….Whee, looks fun
    B…..Okay
    A….I think I see
    B….Yes.

    B…Okay
    C….I Can do this
    B….Yes,
    C…Will do it

    C…I Can do this
    D…tricky, but
    C…will do it
    D…soon, very soon

    D…Tricky, but
    E… like a circle that is
    D….soon, very soon
    E…. about to make me dizzy. 🙂

    • Marie, You knitted pantoums are a delight to read.
      I’m looking forward to the creative poems that will come about this week.

    • Marjory, thanks for the smiles. Walt and Marie WOW! I am beyond speechless at the way you guys turn out great poetry!

  2. Okay, on second read, I see that I should maybe address the aspect of rhyme also 😦 …. Do that next time. [baby steps into pantoums] ;D

  3. Marie, the pantoum really got to you, as it did to me when I had to write one for an end of course assignment, along with sestina, sonnet and villanelle. Walt: if you wrote that in one night, I am a Dutchman. It’s brilliant.

    Here’s the first one I ever wrote (later ones are MUCH worse)

    PANTOUM; A LONG TIME AGO, IN THE ONCE UPON A TIME TIME

    A very long time ago
    the girl was young and slim.
    Her life was in full flow,
    her cup filled to the brim.

    That girl was lithe and slim,
    completely fancy free,
    her cup filled to the brim
    but lovers? No. Not she.

    She was fancy free
    and had no special boy.
    Commitment? No, not she,
    her life filled up with joy.

    She had no special boy.
    Her days were full of fun
    till fun began to cloy
    when she settled on just one.

    Her days, though filled with fun,
    when the girl met her ideal,
    her salad days were done:
    life’s banana peel.

    When she met her real deal,
    her single life was done –
    he was of such appeal –
    willingly forgone.

    Her single days were gone,
    her heart now all aglow
    life happily redrawn
    a very long time ago.

    © VFB 16.12.2008

    • You have the gist of it Marjory. Look forward to seeing the next one.

      Thank you Viv. I am ever re-tooling my “I AM SANTA CLAUS” collection and this was indeed written in one night (but that doesn’t make you a Dutchman, you’re brilliant in your own right!) MORE RAPID THAN EAGLES will be included if I ever get my head on right about it. But, I’m loving your Pantoum.Great start. W.

    • Viv, it got to me for sure, and yes … Walt is quick on the brilliance. Stinker. 😉

      meg

    • Oh, yes, Viv!! I see and love the variations! I should have read first in this case today, I would have written the variations in. Maybe I’ll catch a second breath and toy with that tonight! Thank you and great poem!

    • What draws me to this form is the way the end brings us back to the beginning. As with this poem, it feels happily complete! Viv, I enjoyed this:)

  4. I love the spring –
    Spring’s never too soon.
    the birds sweetly sing,
    many flowers in bloom,

    Spring’s never too soon,
    yellow, blue and reds
    many flowers in bloom
    lush, full flowerbeds.

    Yellow, blue and reds
    from bulbs and small seeds
    lush, full flowerbeds
    (Who added the weeds?)

    From bulbs and small seeds
    Promising veggies and flowers
    (Who added the weeds?)
    I’ll be gardening for hours.

    Promising veggies and flowers,
    for giving and sharing,
    I’ll be gardening for hours
    mid joy in spring living.

    For giving and sharing
    with love we are sowing
    mid joy in spring living
    our garden keeps growing

    With love we are sowing
    I love the spring –
    mid joy in spring living
    the birds sweetly sing.

    MMT 4-2012

    • YAY! Somebody got it! You just made my day, Sara. I figured, if I can’t write a beautiful one with a melodic meter and creative rhymes, I’ll just have some fun with words. 😀

      meg

  5. ~BASKETRY~
    ~~~
    Reeds are dampened, readied for the intricate weave,
    fingers file tender timber, finally, a basket forms.
    Words are willed gracefully, never wishing for reprieve,
    while her mind raggedly races with verbiage storms
    ~~~
    fingers file tender timber, finally, a basket forms.
    Soulful, pliable measures slip through tripping time,
    while her mind raggedly races with verbiage storms.
    Keeping hollow hands busy while words climb,
    ~~~
    soulful, pliable measures slip through tripping time.
    Vines of verb, fragments of unspun fibers reaching,
    keeping hollow hands busy while words climb;
    I’m mindful of the this feeling of inky leaching,
    ~~~
    vines of verb, fragments of unspun fibers reaching,
    seeking the weave, utmost of highest ascension.
    I’m mindful of the this feeling of inky leaching,
    my heart in this wondrous word suspension;

    ~~~
    seeking the weave, utmost of highest ascension.
    A certain high is attained through this spilling,
    my heart in this wondrous word suspension;
    a gather and tumble for the return and filling
    ~~~
    a certain high is attained through this spilling.
    Out pouring of emotions cathartic and evoking,
    a gather and tumble for the return and filling.
    Poignant images reel rapidly, thought provoking,
    ~~~
    out pouring of emotions cathartic and evoking;
    conjuring this longing for whispered worlds.
    Poignant images reel rapidly, thought provoking,
    this creating is elating when mental process unfurls;
    ~~~
    conjuring this longing for whispered worlds.
    Aromatic sea-gathered lavender in fresh, woven basket,
    this creating is elating when mental process unfurls;
    relays a pressing picture when we reach out and grasp it.
    ~~~
    Aromatic sea-gathered lavender in fresh, woven basket,
    reeds are dampened, readied for the intricate weave,
    relays a pressing picture when we reach out and grasp it;
    words are willed gracefully, never wishing for reprieve.
    ~~~

    © H.G. @P.B. 5/2/12

  6. FROM MY PRIVATE WHITE ALBUM

    For better or for worse were true,
    the day we said yes
    and we do.
    God bless.

    The day we said yes
    you said I love you,
    God bless,
    I said I love you, too.

    You said I love you,
    you’re my honey pie.
    I said I love you, too,
    cross my heart and hope to die.

    You’re my honey pie,
    for better or for worse were true,
    cross my heart and hope to die
    and we do.

  7. Walt and Marie Elena, thank you for teaching me this. It’s been a great for me listening to Beatles melodies and catching up with good memories. The title is for Walt because I guess he also knows of Honey Pie. Should I ever use this poem anywhere else, I’d like to call it White Album Lullaby.

    • The forms are all Walt’s baby. I just follow his lead and play at it! “White Album Lullaby” is absolutely charming. Good for you!

      meg

    • Yes, I am versed in Honey Pie and all Mac/Len works. Inspired to complete my Beatles collection and submit it for publishing. Thanks for the jog, Andrea. W.

      • Please do, Walt, submit. I read that incredible wonderful poem you wrote inspired by — I’ve forgotten — one of my husband’s favorite groups. And I kind of sensed you also created something connected to Honey Pie. So get it out there. And good luck!

    • Glad you are having a great day, Andrea. The “sorry” in front of it threw me off for a moment.

      meg

  8. He Will Vacuum

    Unbiased, prejudices unnamed, you love to clean
    Best of everything, the vacuum is your tool of choice
    It does not occur to you: woman’s or man’s work
    Your father does this well and so will you

    Best of everything, the vacuum is your tool of choice
    Inhaling dog-hair and dust-bunnies, it’s fun for you
    Your father does this well and so will you
    Your newly formed mind accepts without question

    Inhaling dog-hair and dust-bunnies, it’s fun for you
    It does not occur to you: woman’s or man’s work
    Your newly formed mind accepts without question
    Unbiased, prejudices unnamed, you love to clean

    S.E.Ingraham©
    also posted at Poetic Asides to the Wed. prompt there, “vacuum”

    • Oh, yes, Sharon! They do love to clean until they learn not to. Ha ha haaaaaa…. :/ Hopefully mine will like to clean for awhile after that it becomes a battle!

      • Thanks Hannah and meg – this is the inimitable Jack; he likes to sweep and cook too – imagine everyone’s shock when they went to buy him kid size implements at Toys ‘R Us at Christmas and found all that stuff is still stocked in the girls’ section … Jack didn’t care but the rest of were a tad peeved!

      • Actually – completely self-motivated Janet – my daughter takes after me (not really a domestic goddess in a lot of respects, but a wonderful mother, plus she runs a day-home) but fortunately my son-in-law is a cleaning whiz and likes things a certain way but is not adverse to doing whatever it takes to keep things up. As soon as Jack could walk, he was forever getting the vacuum, broom or mop out himself … no matter where he was (we had to curtail his “down on the floor” time at certain restaurants). So, I think rather than trained,it’s more just good parent-modelling. He also loves to bake (Mom’s influence) and cook (both parents) – it’s very cool.

    • Hummm – great poem. Also….
      Wondering if I could borrow him for a few days?

  9. My Poetic Secrets
    (Now Everyone Knows)

    I just can’t write a villanelle,
    Sestinas make me queasy.
    Sonnets send me to metered hell.
    Who said that writing was easy?

    Sestinas make me queasy
    With their strictly fashioned style.
    Who said that writing was easy?
    My mood is growing more hostile.

    With their strictly fashioned style
    Poetic forms just make me curse.
    My mood is growing more hostile.
    I miss the freedom of free verse.

    Poetic forms just make me curse.
    Sonnets send me to metered hell.
    I miss the freedom of free verse.
    I just can’t write a villanelle.

    • Mary, I’m with you. Form poems always scared me (also likely because English is my second language) – but even in Danish they scare me. Also here, I don’t know about America, there often “goes too much” of Shakespeare into writing form poems – and that really has me smiling. Only here, on this website, we get the chance, and again thanks to Walt and Marie Elena.
      I love the message saying: “I just can’t write a villanelle” – only I kind of expect to read a villanelle from you some day because you’re doing fine here.

      • Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Andrea! I’ve been attempting to work with the villanelle form for about four months now, and every session seems to end with me banging my head against the desk. Not giving up on it though…I think it’s just going to be a case of coming up with the right idea at the right time.

        And this isn’t to say I don’t like poetic forms. Shadormas, triolets, and quaterns are all forms I enjoy working with, and I’ve got a few more in mind to try tackling. I’ve found it’s a great way to stretch myself, and I’ve learned much along the way. But that villanelle…ugh!

        Also have to say I liked the irony of complaining about writing form poetry in a form poem 🙂

    • OK, more poetic forms … ones I have not heard of before.
      There is so much to learn! Thanks you-all for leading.

  10. Smile

    Making people smile,
    What a special knack.
    Lasting even a short while
    Can get a person back on track.

    What a special knack,
    To have and share with friends,
    Can get a person back on track,
    A rubber face that bends.

    To have and share with friends,
    A smile that turns into a laugh.
    Pay it forward and it extends
    Like a bottomless carafe.

    A gift that cost not a single dime,
    Making people smile,
    Well, the feeling is sublime,
    Lasting even a short time.

  11. The Beggars

    A handful was all he had.
    A simply special seed.
    The beggars were all glad.
    He grew enough to feed.

    A simply special seed.
    Please multiply and grow.
    He grew enough to feed.
    At first he had to sow.

    Please multiply and grow.
    Share what you shall reap.
    At first he had to sow.
    At last he had to weep.

    Share what you shall reap.
    A handful was all he had.
    At last he had to weep.
    The beggars were all glad.

    By Michael Grove

  12. Marie Elena,
    That was a fun poem!
    Walt,
    I am in awe! That could be illustrated for a great children’s book!
    My pantoum doesn’t conform to the rhyme scheme, but I believe the rest is correct.

    Sometimes You Drive

    Sometimes you drive the road
    Sometimes the road drives you
    When you don’t know the difference
    Every place is the bad part of town

    Sometimes the road drives you
    Makes you do things you don’t want to
    Every place is the bad part of town
    And all the strangers know your name

    You do things you don’t want to
    When you give up the wheel
    All the strangers know your name
    But you don’t remember why you came

    When you give up the wheel
    And you’re just along for the ride
    You don’t remember why you came
    Don’t care if you make it home again

    You’re just along for the ride
    You gotta keep up the drive
    Don’t care if you make it home again
    You let the road decide

    You gotta keep up the drive
    Though you can’t say if you’ll arrive
    You let the road decide
    Between dead and alive

    Though you can’t say if you’ll arrive
    When you don’t know the difference
    Between dead and alive
    Sometimes you drive the road.

  13. What a great prompt, and I love your poems, Marie and Walt! Here’s my attempt…
    http://shes-taking-notes.blogspot.com/2012/05/my-heart-is-wax-slab.html

    My heart is a wax slab
    I’m warming up to you
    Tread softly, gentle stab
    Your mark, it’s overdue

    I’m warming up to you
    A will too bold to shake
    Your mark, it’s overdue
    I’m so afraid to break

    A will too bold to shake
    My palms upon the floor
    I’m so afraid to break
    The silence come before

    My palms upon the floor
    I trust you’ll let me hear
    The silence come before
    There’s nothing left to fear

    I trust you’ll let me hear
    Tread softly, gentle stab
    There’s nothing left to fear
    My heart is a wax slab

  14. I am blotting out the sun
    Image-making, clever.
    Making shadows just for fun.
    What an odd endeavour!

    Image-making. Clever.
    Loops and changing whirls.
    What an odd endeavour!
    See the lines and curls!

    Loops and changing whirls;
    Now the sky is greying.
    See the lines and curls
    Fading, merging, straying.

    Now the sky is greying.
    I am blotting-out the sun.
    Fading, merging, straying,
    Making shadows just for fun.
    *

  15. Oh boy! Form poetry — my favorite… NOT! 😐

    Marie, I love your pantoum — your quirky sense of humor shines through, and Walt — amazing! Still don’t know how you always manage to crank them out so quickly — and still knock them out of the ballpark. 🙂 I’m jealous. :-]

    Anyway, I said I’d try to be here more often, so I gave this one a try, but, well… this is all I’ve got:

    Pantoum Punching Bag

    A good pantoum is hard to write.
    I know that this is true.
    The lines will cluster up and fight.
    They all gang up on you.

    I know that this is true,
    (it’s happened once or twice before).
    They all gang up on you
    and keep on coming back for more!

    It’s happened once or twice before:
    they stack up line by letter,
    and keep on coming back for more!
    You’d think that I’d know better.

    They stack up line by letter —
    the lines will cluster up and fight.
    You’d think that I’d know better:
    a GOOD pantoum is HARD to write!

  16. Spring Fever

    I’ve come down with a sudden fever
    Aroused by breezes tumbling through the screen
    And I’ve become an old, renewed believer
    In words like violet, indigo and green

    Aroused by breezes tumbling through the screen
    Passion stirs a yearning wanderlust
    As words like violet, indigo and green
    Draw me to pastures rich with rain-drenched dust

    Passion stirs a yearning wanderlust
    A longing to return, I know not whence
    So I choose pastures, rich with rain-drenched dust
    Wiggle like a child, beneath its fence

    A longing to return, I know not whence
    But Father Time does not restore the past
    As now a woman squirms beneath the fence
    Content to revel in its shadow cast

    Father Time does not restore the past
    So, I’ve become an old, renewed believer
    Content to revel in its shadow cast
    Oh, I’ve come down with a sudden fever…

  17. Don’t QuatRAIN on My Parade

    It seems a trifle bit obscure
    to write this Pantoum form
    I’ll try it that’s for sure
    but for now I am forelorn.

    To write this Pantoum form
    you must think in rhyming meter
    I’ll try it that’s for sure
    but I’m sure it could be neater.

    You must think in rhyming meter
    to get the lines just right
    but I’m sure it could be neater
    I’m certain mines a fright.

    To get the lines just right
    you must count and rhyme for sure
    I’m certain mines a fright
    It seems a trifle bit obscure.

    © KED 2012

  18. Well, this is my first time at Poetic Bloomings (I discovered it via the PAD challenge over at Poetic Asides), as well as my first time ever writing a pantoum. Fun stuff!! Anyway, here’s my attempt.

    Nightmares Again

    Fear wraps me in chilly blankets,
    Wet with persistent perspiration.
    I am tangled in these pernicious nets
    Of most nightmarish sensations.

    Wet with persistent perspiration,
    I dread the knells of sleep and
    Of most nightmarish sensations,
    And so I wring my shaking hands.

    I dread the knells of sleep and
    My violent terrors cannot be calmed,
    And so I wring my shaking hands,
    Wishing my fears more easily palmed.

    My violent terrors cannot be calmed;
    There is no escape from the writhing night.
    Wishing my fears more easily palmed,
    I long to be bathed in gentle daylight.

    There is no escape from the writhing night.
    I am tangled in these pernicious nets;
    I long to be bathed in gentle daylight.
    Fear wraps me in chilly blankets.

  19. Paper Garden Pantoum

    One thing, or another, but I’ve given up
    drawing garden after graph paper garden,
    buying shoeboxes of tiny seeds,
    imagining brick walks and mint, and peaches.

    Drawing gardens, plotting,
    knowing how one day the rosemary will bend, woody,
    imagining the walkways paved with old moss and scents:
    these things are prayers.

    Knowing the plants, their shapes, their habits;
    and fitting your life around them to make more beauty,
    these things are prayers,
    wholly matters of faith,

    and fitting my life around the future,
    buying for it tiny seeds
    is living in faith,
    and I have given up.

    • I said this of another one, but this comes with its own mood, Barbara. Sadly lovely and evocative. So creatively penned.

      meg

      • Thanks. You know me and my allergy to form. This was like pulling teeth until I hit on altering the change lines. Don’t know if it’s still a pantoum, but it’s built on a pantoum chassis.

    • Sometimes faith blooms best while enjoying another’s garden.
      One joy of spring and gardens, they are meant to share.

  20. Pingback: Prompt Week: Friday Freeforall « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  21. “One simple verse”

    In one simple verse
    he asks one single doubt—
    are we alone in this poetic universe
    that binds in devout

    insight? A mind freely entering time without
    thought to new dawns,
    this intoxicating soul drought,
    drawing him, drawing us into holy psalms

    with a cadence that calms
    torn hearts or anoints the lone bard
    with halos, oh, we hunger for word alms
    to heal the scarred

    or offer unsullied eyesight.
    We, alone together, a tribe immersed
    and birthed upon poetic flight
    in one simple verse.

  22. Miracles
    (A Pantoum)

    Miracles happen every day.
    Look around and you will see.
    There is love and there’s a way.
    Find forgiveness. Be set free.

    Look around and you will see
    a wondrous way to live.
    Find forgiveness. Be set free.
    Open up and give.

    A wondrous way to live
    with your light shining brightly.
    Open up and give.
    What’s in your heart please hold on tightly.

    With your light shining brightly
    there is love and there’s a way.
    What’s in your heart please hold on tightly.
    Miracles happen every day.

    By Michael Grove

    • YES (I think I wrote this earlier, but worth repeating)
      “I believe in miracles, I’ve seen a soul set free …”
      and I know the miracle doer.
      Thank you for your beautiful poem and thoughts.

  23. SAND DANCE (Pantoum) …… I just had to do another one! 🙂

    Waves come crashing on the beach,
    from clouds the rain is dripping,
    then waves recede back out of reach
    and along the sand I’m dancing.

    From clouds the rain is dripping.
    Hold up a cape of old cowhide
    and along the sand I’m dancing
    while avoiding the racing tide.

    Hold up a cape of old cowhide
    against the rain that’s falling
    while avoiding the racing tide
    I watch gulls run for covering.

    Against the rain that’s falling
    as they seek their dinner clams,
    I watch gulls run for covering
    beneath old driftwood jams.

    As they seek their dinner clams
    waiting out the storm’s wet sting
    beneath old driftwood jams
    mid the buffeting of the wind.

    Waiting out the storm’s wet sting,
    my sand dance still goes on
    mid the buffeting of the wind
    at the stormy bay at dawn.

    My sand dance still goes on
    waves come crashing on the beach,
    at the stormy bay at dawn,
    then waves recede back out of reach.

    Marjory Thompson 5/2012

  24. OK still learning…The first is to be the last…so the last stanza should read….

    …..My sand dance still goes on
    …..then waves recede back out of reach,
    …..at the stormy bay at dawn
    …..waves come crashing on the beach.

  25. It’s been a fun month. Thanks Walt and Marie. And thanks to all who commented on my poems. Sorry I haven’t commented much but I have read a lot of your great poems.

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