Pattern Poem:  A Pantoum

 

A pantoum uses a structured repetition of lines to achieve a haunting, chant-like effect.  Following is one of several "recipes" for a pantoum.  

 

 

line #

 

repeats as line #

Line

(NOT rhyme) pattern

1

We were drinking our coffee

14

A

2

We sat at sticky tables

5

B

3

Waiters brought beignets

13

C

4

We were lost to ourselves

7

D

 

 

 

 

5

We sat at sticky tables

 

B

6

Wandering jazzmen played

9

E

7

We were lost to ourselves

 

D

8

While sparrows competed for our crumbs

11

F

 

 

 

 

9

Wandering jazzmen played

 

E

10

When you suddenly looked at me

15

G

11

While sparrows competed for our crumbs

 

F

12

Where before there had been nothing

16

H

 

 

 

 

13

Waiters brought beignets

 

C

14

We were drinking our coffee

 

A

15

When you suddenly looked at me

 

G

16

Where before there had been nothing

 

H

 

 

SUGGESTIONS: 

 

1.  Start by doodling six to ten words or phrases. 

 

2.  From them, form your first four lines -- for now, start each with a capital, end with no punctuation.

 

3.  Construct the lines as separate, stand-alone units.

 

4.  Be alert for connections, patterns, rhymes, echoes...whatever the poem you have started is trying to tell you!