She writes of love

I’ve been playing with form a few months now, and I decided that I wanted to try learning Pantoums. Every single article I’ve read quotes that a pantoum is a repetitive poem akin to a triolet. Well, huh, shouldn’t be that hard then…WRONG! Everyone knows I’m a free verse writer. I’m not keen on rhyme, writing about love, unless it’s sexy, so being honest with you, form writing scares the bejesus out of me.

Pantoums are again based in French history, and were used as a form of entertainment by French peasants. They are similar to the triolet, but are normally written in blank verse with specific rhymes, pattern being A(1)-B-A(2)-B | B-C-B-C | C-D-C-D | D-A(2)-D-A(1). So I started playing around with a triolet I’d written previously for a friend, to see if I could actually write a pantoum that made sense. Here’s the triolet

She writes of love and tortured souls
until her fingertips bleed red
her works unfinished full of holes
She writes of love and tortured souls
life draining from her sickled scrolls
frustrated tears, diamonds of lead
she writes of love and tortured souls
until her fingertips run red


From this it’s a process of choosing your refrain lines, there are slightly more in a Pantoum, in fact almost all the lines are refrains.


This is what I came up with

She writes of love

She writes of love and tortured souls

until her fingertips run red

hiding her feeble sickle scrolls

until her tears are all but lead


until her fingertips run red

and eyes burn from the scathing words

hiding her tortured sickle scrolls

feeding manuscripts to the birds


her eyes burn from the scathing words

her works unfinished, full of holes

disjointed harmony in thirds

cacophony of no control


her works unfinished full of holes

tortured her hidden sickled scrolls

cacophony of no control

she writes of love and tortured souls




14 responses to “She writes of love

  1. This is great Shan! I have tried to write a pantoum in the past, and unlike you I struggle with it sounding repetitive. Yours really flows and feels written from your heart ~ love it : )

    • They are quite repetative! I’m on a mission to try and find a form that I like sonnets are good, especially the Italian ones, but getting bored easily with haiku and senryu

  2. Well done!The repeated lines work really well. I love this form – though I do tend to play with it a bit. It is great for laments I find. I really enjoyed reading this.

    • It’s the repetative quality I think if you’re writing a lament it would bring the overall drone of sorrow to the forefront of the poem. I’m experimenting a lot recently, and I think it’s done my writing and creative side some good.

  3. impressive! I used to think, “repetitive lines – it’s got to be easy.” far from it…these forms make my brain hurt. I really enjoyed the flow and story of this one.

    • lol sheila! Repetitiveness can get…well repetative…for want of a better word!! Maybe if I work on some of these triolets, I’ll have a collection of villanelle and pantoum under my belt. Would like to have a variety of things to send off to publishers.

  4. I liked seeing the transformation of your original poem, the fact that you make them both work despite their form is impressive, indeed. And, despite the the pantoum being mostly refrain, you’ve done it so delicately that the refrain seems to call out the words that aren’t refrain and make them resonate loudly. Ever word matters here, and every word seems right. Beautiful!

    • Thanks Ben, it’s difficult trying not to be too repetitive as they are repetitive poems. I like to change refrains but unfortunately it’s a stipulation that you don’t OVER change them. Lol I keep wandering if I’ve crossed the line sometimes!

  5. breathtaking, Shân. both triolet and pantoum are stunning. i like the impact of repetitive or near-repetitive lines, but i’m afraid the forms are beyond me. i think you do an excellent job of explaining them ~ i just can’t grasp any of it. keep going… you just keep getting better and better. *hugs* ♥

  6. I really like these, Shan. What a creative and no doubt brain-numbingly difficult exercise this must have been, but you have a lot to show for it. The pantoum really amplifies the message incredibly with the variant repetition. (And it’s quite a well done broadside to which we who read endless screens of online poetry can certainly relate, as well. )

    Now I know what to torture myself with next. ;_)

  7. Yes, I feel like Joy…I don’t know pantoums but look forward to trying them. Thank you for all your work on triolets. I wish I had been able to be more supportive today but the world pulled me away and I had to run out unexpectedly and get several other things accomplished. I did get a little promotion done this morning. Sorry it couldn’t have been more. Again thank you for your poems and for hosting the two sessions. We really appreciate it and you! Gay

  8. lovely… one of the things i noticed when i started playing with poetic forms that i liked repetition; even uncovered it throughout my usual writes of free verse. and while i like it, when trying to fit into a specific form, it can be quite challenging and in the long run satisfying.

    you did a nice job turning your triolet into a pantoum.

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