Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Poetry Stretch - Pantoum

This week's stretch is a real S-T-R-E-T-C-H. The form I have decided to tackle is the pantoum. I have read a great deal about this form and found many variations. I am not going to try and do this one in rhyme, though you can if you want to attempt it. Are you ready? Here's the form.
The pantoum is a poem made up of stanzas of four lines where lines 2 and 4 of each stanza are repeated as lines 1 and three of the next stanza. The final stanza of a pantoum has an interesting twist. Lines 2 and 4 are the same as the 3rd and 1st of the first stanza, thereby using every line in the poem twice.

Here is an outline for the pantoum form.
Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Line 5 (same as line 2)
Line 6
Line 7 (same as line 4)
Line 8

Line 9 (same as line 6)
Line 10
Line 11 (same as line 8)
Line 12

Line 13 (same as line 10)
Line 14 (same as line 3)Line 15 (same as line 12)
Line 16 (same as line 1)

Keep in mind that this form of poetry is of an indefinite length. It could be three stanzas, 4 stanzas or 20!
(Adapted from The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms.)
You can read more about this form at I am still working on my pantoum and will share it here once I have a draft. Until then, here is a terrific example.
We Are Waiting
by Joyce Sidman
in Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow

Our time will come again,
say the patient ones.
Now is meadow,
but not for long.

Say the patient ones:
sunlight dazzles,
but not for long.
Seedlings grow amongst the grass.

Sunlight dazzles
and the meadow voles dance,
but seedlings grow amongst the grass.
Forest will return.

Meadow voles dance
where once was fire,
but forest will return.
We wait patiently.

Once was fire.
Now is meadow.
We wait patiently.
Our time will come again.

So, do you want to play? What kind of pantoum will you write? Post your creation on your blog and then leave a link in the comments. Once we have some poems, I'll link them all here.


  1. Wow! Another tough assignment! It may take a while, but I will enjoy the effort.

    BtTW Learning in the Great Outdoors is finally up!

  2. Here's my effort:

    I enjoyed your pantoum!

  3. Well, here's my pantoum: it comes with a picture.

    Rock Solid

  4. Here's mine, dear me...

  5. I'm working on this; maybe by Friday Poetry?