Monday, October 31, 2011

A Vampire Pantoum for Halloween

I ought to have told you a while back, but what with one thing and another, I kinda lost track of the fact that my poem, "A Vampire Pantoum", was published online at Blood Moon Rising Magazine back in June. (It got accepted last fall, and I kinda forgot all about it - oops!)

Today, I figured I'd share it with you here in honor of Halloween:

A Vampire Pantoum
by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

Come with me
Midnight comes soon
Flying free
We soar beneath the moon

Midnight comes soon
The shadows shrink away
We soar beneath the moon
And over the bay

The shadows shrink away
The air is still
And over the bay
It’s time for us to kill

The air is still
But none can slow our pace
It’s time for us to kill
We leave without a trace

None can slow our pace
Flying free
We leave without a trace
Come with me

A word about the form: The pantoum is an evocative form that originates in Malaysia. It involves a lot of repetition, since each line will repeat once in the poem. A pantoum can have as many stanzas as one likes. Each stanza holds four lines. Lines two and four of stanza one become lines one and three of stanza two, lines two and four of stanza two become lines one and three of stanza three, and so on, until the final stanza, in which line three of the first stanza of the poem is line two of that final stanza, and line one of the poem is the fourth line, and therefore the final line of the poem.

It can sound a bit complicated, but it's exceedingly simple when seen in practice. I posted about the form once before, with a spectacular pantoum by poet Peter Oresick, from his book Warhol-O-Rama. Joyce Sidman is also a master at this form, with splendid pantoums in Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow and This is Just to Say. She's posted a pantoum called "Spring is the Time" at her website, with instructions on how to write one, if you're so inclined.


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