Week Thirty-Six: Pantoum

Meet the Pantoum

We learned in our explorations of the Kyrielle [Week 13], Villanelle [Week 23] and Terzanelle [Week 32] that the French love their repeating refrains. But the Pantoum is a French adaptation of a form that is Malaysian in origin.

Key Features of the Pantoum Poem

Form: composed of any number of quatrains

Refrain: The second and fourth lines of one stanza repeat as the first and third lines of the next. Some variation is allowed to add interest.

Rhyme: abab rhyme scheme

Example Pantoum

Another Lullaby for Insomniacs


Sleep, she will not linger:
She turns her moon-cold shoulder.
With no ring on her finger,
You cannot hope to hold her.

She turns her moon-cold shoulder
And tosses off the cover.
You cannot hope to hold her:
She has another lover.

She tosses off the cover
And lays the darkness bare.
She has another lover.
Her heart is otherwhere.

She lays the darkness bare.
You slowly realize
Her heart is otherwhere.
There’s distance in her eyes.

You slowly realize
That she will never linger,
With distance in her eyes
And no ring on her finger.


An Original Pantoum

Coronavirus Blues

I woke up this mornin’
And I turned on the news.
Newsman called out a warnin’.
Now I’ve got the coronavirus blues.

Yeah, I turned on the news
And what they said was nothin’ good.
Now I see the coronavirus blues
All around my neighborhood.

What they say is nothin’ good,
Except for those who lie.
All around my neighborhood
We don’t trust that lyin’ guy.

Yeah, we say to those who lie,
“Your judgment’s comin’ quick.
We don’t trust that lyin’ guy
He’s enough to make you sick.”

Their judgment’s comin’ quick,
Those liars on the news.
It’s enough to make you sick.
I’ve got the coronavirus blues.


Want to Learn More? Start Here:

Pantoum – Writer’s Digest
Pantoum – Poetry Foundation
Pantoum – Wikipedia


Come back every Friday for a new form!

~ Creative works are owned by the author and subject to copyright laws ~

Write your own Pantoum and share in the comments!

One thought on “Week Thirty-Six: Pantoum

  1. Pingback: Coronavirus Blues – Adam Astra

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