Poem a Day Day 15


They did say to write anything. And that some would be better than others. So that’s my apology for day 15.

 

Ravens soaring over the wasteland

Screaming cacophonous woeful calls

I swore to never move again

but find now never ending falls

 

NaPoWriMo’s prompt was to write a Pantun

And now our (again — totally optional) prompt! Today, I challenge you to write a pantun. Not a pantoum — though they are related. The pantun is a traditional Malay form, a style of which was later adapted into French and then English as the pantoum. A pantun consists of rhymed quatrains (abab), with 8-12 syllables per line. The first two lines of each quatrain aren’t meant to have a formal, logical link to the second two lines, although the two halves of each quatrain are supposed to have an imaginative or imagistic connection. Here’s an example:

I planted sweet-basil in mid-field.
Grown, it swarmed with ants,
I loved but am not loved,
I am all confused and helpless.
*

The associative leap from the first couplet to the second allows for a great deal of surprise and also helps give the poems are very mysterious and lyrical quality. Try your hand at just one quatrain, or a bunch of them, and see how you do!

* It’s been pointed out that the example doesn’t rhyme, and its syllable count is suspect. All I can say is that it is a translation from a poem in Malay. A transliteration of the original is below–

Tanam selasih di tengah padang,
Sudah bertangkai diurung semut,
Kita kasih orang tak sayang,
Halai-balai tempurung hanyut.

——————————-

 

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