EIF Poetry Challenge #10: Pantoum

The pantoum is a poetic form which originated in Malaysia, where it was developed from the form pantun berkait, a series of quatrain stanzas within which the lines are intricately woven.

I discovered this form for myself by reading poetry on WordPress, and it immediately appealed to me because of its lyrical nature, and its skilful weaving of repeated lines to form a kind of poetic tapestry which reads almost like a waterfall of words.

Pantoum Structure

In the pantoum form, lines 2 and 4 of the first quatrain stanza are repeated as lines 1 and 3 of the second. This pattern continues throughout the poem until the final stanza, where the line 3 of the 1st stanza becomes line 2 of the final, and line 1 of the 1st stanza becomes line 4 of the final, marking a return to the starting-point of the poem πŸ˜….

I find this description quite hard to follow, but the form is easy to recognise when I read it. I composed one myself which I posted yesterday, so for an example please check out Nature paints a picture. You’ll notice I altered a word or two in certain lines, to keep the flow of sense within the poem. I’m not sure if this is against the rules but I’m not too worried. I just love the result which is kind of like ripples in a pond returning back to their source.

The Challenge

Write a pantoum poem of your own, create a post and link back to this one. Drop your link in the comments below. Perhaps you’ve already written this form, in which case just link up to the challenge, and remember to add your link in the comments to this post. If you prefer, you can enter by email: experimentsinfiction@protonmail.com. The poem can be on any subject, and of any length, within reason (spare a thought for our judge!)

This week’s challenge will be judged by last week’s winner, Nick Reeves. Do check out his blog for some beautiful poetry and poetic prose.

The deadline for entries is midnight CET on Tuesday, 24 November 2020. Results to be announced next Wednesday, or as soon as is practically possible afterwards!

13 thoughts on “EIF Poetry Challenge #10: Pantoum

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  1. I absolutely adore writing pantoums Ingrid and have posted quite a few in the past, but this challenged me to write another one. My understanding is that you can change a line anlittle bit in order to make it make sense.

    1. It’s fortnightly, a kind of fun competition-the winner of the challenge gets to judge the next competition: feel free to link up any of your pantoums, if you like! 😊

  2. Here is my entry to the challenge:
    ISOLATION

    Isolation is more a state of mind
    Than loss of contact with another soul
    Its grip has left me gasping groping blind
    bereft, alone, like an abandoned foal

    So loss of contact with another soul
    Is all I’m left with as I sit forlorn
    Bereft, alone, like an abandoned foal
    In my sad cell to greet the break of dawn

    So all I’m left with as i sit forlorn
    To struggle for some meaning in my life
    In my sad cell to greet the break of dawn
    Is wading through this world that’s filled with strife

    I struggle for some meaning in my life
    I pause, I faint, I fight to find some air
    Still wading through this world that’s filled with strife
    I slump, defeated, on my lonely chair

    I pause, I faint, I fight to find some air
    My grip has left me, grasping, groping, blind
    I slump defeated on my lonely chair
    Isolation still a stae of mind

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