Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Poetry Stretch - Pantun

The pantun is a Malaysian verse form, not to be confused with the pantoum, a French verse form. Here is what Poetry Magnum Opus says about this form.
The Pantun is a poem of two halves almost unrelated. The first half, the pembayan (shadow) sets the rhythm and rhyme of the whole poem, and the second half, the maksud (meaning) delivers the message. The form has been referred to as a riddle. These poems were to be exchanged between individuals, not recited to an audience. The Pantun is
  • most often a poem in a single quatrain made up of two complete couplets. 
  • syllabic, all lines are of the same length, lines are written in 8 to 12 syllables each.
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme abab.
  • written in two complete couplets. 
So, there's your challenge for the week. I hope you'll join me in writing a pantun. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Big snowstorm so I'm home, writing a pantun about snow. Not that the Malaysians ever chose that topic!


    When a world of snow falls overnight,
    weird sliding underfoot, underwheel,
    I remember a day of sunlight,
    how telling you goodbye made me feel.

    —Kate Coombs, 2015
    all rights reserved

  2. I Sweat This Winter: A Pantun

    I sweat this winter, wishing snow.
    A strange parenthesis of spring.
    You are still far and under ground.
    Ash and bone less human, more thing.

    Honeyed air not the breath of ice.
    Small green shoots lift summery heads.
    With no belief in Afterlife
    I leave you winter with the dead.

    ©2015 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  3. It's a Double Pantun actually.

    I don’t know where I’m supposed to go
    But it’s time for me to get out of here,
    It’s ten below with a fortress of snow
    How I’ll survive, that’s what I fear.

    I wipe away rivulets of tears
    Steady my breathing, open the door,
    Walk into a new life, new year,
    I couldn’t live here anymore.

    (c) Charles Waters 2016 all rights reserved.