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.
The Lune–also known as the American Haiku–is a thirteen-syllable variation of the English Haiku created by American poet Robert Kelly (it may also be referred to as the Kelly Lune). Kelly’s adaptation of the better-known English Haiku–which also features a tercet, but with the 5-7-5 syllable count we all learned in school–shortened the syllable count from seventeen to thirteen and opened up the form by not requiring some of the haiku’s distinguishing features, such as the focus on nature.
One source proposes that Kelly chose the word lune (the French word for moon) to describe his adapted haiku form because the syllable count matches the thirteen lunar months of the year.
A Lune by Robert Kelly:
thin sliver of the crescent moon high up the real world
Requirements of the Form
– Consists of any number of tercets, though a single tercet is most common
– Open, but generally has a sense of immediacy — Often lacks punctuation, capitalization
[Line 1] Five syllables [Line 2] Three syllables [Line 3] Five syllables
– No requirements
– Typically not rhymed
Three Original Lunes
the woods by the creek
the woods by the creek all our best silences were there
she watches, wonders
she watches, wonders in silence the child in the leaves
who will comfort her as she cries as her forests burn
from ancient darkness
from ancient darkness sudden light galaxies of soul