Forums SCP Workshop Moved: Question Pantoum
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  • #30297 Reply
    Lenore Rosenberg
    0 Posts

    Question Pantoum

    Perhaps I’ve never known the right questions
    Where does that bird come from and what’s
    the name of its song – or the bird – or the name of the lake
    The place to refuge to when I don’t know the answers

    The bird haunting me, where does it come from and what’s
    in the empty house by the lake below the Sea
    The place where I flee when I don’t know the answers
    The one in Galillee with window arches lined in black bricks.

    Always inhabited, the house by the lake below the level of the sea,
    closed against the desert sand, by a lady who sits waiting
    in Galillee, leaning against the black brick lined windows
    dressed in white muslin, black pearls and white skin, hiding

    closed against the desert sand, the waiting lady
    hides the dreams of poems fit only for me, not yet written
    dressed in white muslin, black pearls and white skin obscured in
    the pool of water seeping up from a spring that leads to the Sea

    hiding the dreams of poems fit only for me, but not yet written
    circling around in our secret space built to protect
    the pool of water seeping up from a spring that leads to the Sea,
    while the bird is ready to fly me over the hills to the white waves of verse.

    Circling around in our secret space where we protect
    The name of the bird – and its song on the lake
    the bird is waiting to fly me over hills to the white waves of verse
    Perhaps it’s the right question I’ve known, unfailingly.

  • #30378 Reply
    Mark Stone
    0 Posts

    Lenore, Hello. My analysis, which is based on my personal preferences, is as follows.

    1. Type of poem. Free verse.

    2. Spelling. My dictionary says that the correct spelling is “Galilee.”

    3. Punctuation. I would make it consistent. Right now some sentences have it and some don’t. Also, it is not clear why “The” in line 22 is capitalized.

    4. Meter. None.

    5. Rhymes. None.

    6. Diction (choice of words and phrases). In line 4, “refuge” is used as an intransitive verb. I don’t use it that way, but my dictionary says that such use is permissible (although archaic).

    7. Sonic devices (alliteration, assonance, consonance). I like the consonance in line 8 (“black bricks”) and the assonance in line 13 (“waiting lady”).

    8. Literary devices (simile, metaphor, personification, foreshadowing, etc.). None identified.

    9. Allusions (literary, historic, artistic, musical or mythological). None identified. However, there could be many that I don’t see because I don’t have the background in that area.

    10. Miscellaneous. The Poetry Foundation website defines “pantoum” as follows: “A Malaysian verse form adapted by French poets and occasionally imitated in English. It comprises a series of quatrains, with the second and fourth lines of each quatrain repeated as the first and third lines of the next. The second and fourth lines of the final stanza repeat the first and third lines of the first stanza.” Reading through the poem carefully, I see it fits the definition of a pantoum quite nicely.

    Best wishes,

    Mark

  • #30381 Reply
    JULIAN WOODRUFF
    0 Posts

    Hi, Lenore
    I am getting that the theme is that retreat or “refuge” (specifically or ideally to Galilee) is the instigation for your poetic flowering. Am I close? I might venture further, but that would really be crawling out on a limb! In any case, your poem has a dreamy quality that is slightly exotic, at least to me. (As with Mark Stone, pantoums are unfamiliar territory to me.) Below are some punctuation suggestions plus a couple of critical comments.
    1) … questions.
    2) … from, and …
    3) … of the lake,
    4) The place of refuge when I … (cf. Mark Stone)
    5) … haunting me—where …
    6) … below the sea, (capital here & in line 16, lc in line 9—I don’t get it)
    7) … the answers,
    9-10) the pp “inhabited” is quite separated from the agent “a lady,” making a smooth reading of surface meaning difficult
    11) … black, brick-lined windows,
    12) as with lines 9-10, the description of “the lady” is very far from her verbally; … black pearls, and …
    14) … yet written;
    15) … black pearls, and white skin, (?)
    16) … sea,
    17) … yet written,
    19) … the sea,
    21) … secret space,
    22) … the lake— (or else: … of the bird, and … the lake.)
    23) The bird … (if the latter for line 22); … of verse.

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