Three Pantoums


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1. Cage:

How they've locked a soul
Inside a cage so small
Nights as pit black as coal
The only friend, a wall

Inside a cage so small
It's even hard to breathe
The only friend, a wall
Bones, too, begin to seethe

It's even hard to breathe
When chained from head to toe
Bones, too, begin to seethe
When pain is all you know

 

 

2. Darkness:

The owls gazing at the sky
In the middle of the night
Does the darkness let them fly
Or shush them up with it's might

In the middle of the night
Does the calm let killdeers sing
Or shush them up with it's might
Under the crescent moon's ring

Does the calm let killdeers sing
And let nightjars sound their cry
Under the crescent moon's ring
Does it even let them try

 

 

3. Snow:

In my land, whose love runs through my veins
When they fall today, those flakes of snow
Tell them to wash away the bloodstains
For they're the cause of my mother's woe

When they fall today, those flakes of snow
Let them purge the nightmares of my death
For they're the cause of my mother's woe
And the pain that she feels with each breath

Let them purge the nightmares of my death
Please God, put an end to Mouji's tears
And the pain that she feels with each breath
Through the snowfall that this winter bears

 

 

The pantoum is a unique form of poetry similar to a villanelle in that there are repeating lines throughout the poem. It's composed of three quatrains; the second & fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first & third lines of the next stanza. American poets such as John Ashbery, Marilyn Hacker, Donald Justice ("Pantoum of the Great Depression"), Carolyn Kizer,[5] and David Trinidad have done work in this form, as has Irish poet Caitriona O'Reilly.

Written By:

Mahhum Bhat