Friday, July 3, 2020

A Pantoum for Our Times

Self-Portrait, Summer 2020
by Amy LV

Students - You may have noticed a lot of repetition in today's poem, and you may have noticed that the repetition follows a particular pattern. This poem is a pantoum. A pantoum has stanzas of four lines (as many as the poet wishes), and in each stanza, the second and fourth lines repeat as the first and third lines of the following stanza. Pantoums do not always rhyme, and you will note that I changed the pattern in my final stanza, rhyming all four lines with each other.

I do not recall ever writing a pantoum before, but for today, I wanted my message to contain a lot of repetition, and this form clearly lends itself to that. I am writing about the importance of wearing masks because I know that science tells the truth, and I care about my community -- both the small community of my family and the large community of our world's people.

You might wish to try writing a pantoum of your own. You do not need to rhyme, and your pantoum can be as long as you wish. Simply experiment with four line stanzas, and follow the repetition pattern as above. I suggest choosing repeated lines that you wish to drive home. I found that making lists of rhyming words in my notebook and then drafting on the computer helped me with this form.

Linda is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at A Word Edgewise with a poem swap share and a powerful 'In One Word' poem for July 4. We invite everybody to join in each Friday as we share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship. Check out my left sidebar to learn where to find this poetry goodness each week of the year.

Please share a comment below if you 


  1. Amy, if ever a topic needed the repetition of a pantoum, it's this one. A mask will cover a cough and sneeze!

  2. Your pantoum is brilliant! How I would like to share it with the Swiss - but I'd have to translate it into German! My favorite line is: "We all live in community." :)

  3. The repetition is just great and the point this poem makes is clear and easy to understand, accessible, which is important especially here. Nice work.

  4. Thanks for your powerful poem on the compliance of wearing a mask–the pantoum form drives your message home, and I like the rising up of unity in your closing lines! xo

  5. Yes, brilliant. Form and content perfectly matched, with the last stanza full of AmyLV heart.

  6. Changing the pattern at the end to four rhyming lines was perfect, as was the form choice for this topic. You make a pantoum look effortless!

  7. This is such an artful way to get the message across. I love the last stanza. I'm seeing more and more masks when I go out these days. It's encouraging. I think people are finally understanding the importance.

  8. This is fabulous, Amy, and that last stanza...WOW. I think that should be printed and taped to the front of every business, retail store, restaurant, etc. Perfection.


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