At the Center of the Labyrinth

My Introduction to Pantoum Poetry

I was recently introduced to the fun of writing a Pantoum poem by the leader of my local writer's group. Now that I have begun, I have developed an insatiable passion for writing them. They are my predominant poetry form for NaPoWriMo 2012.

One of the features that I love about the Pantoum is that it is flexible. One can write a long, epic poem or a short one, depending on the inspiration for writing it and the amount of time available for playing with words on any given day.

It is also easy to put down a pantoum poem and then later revisit it to write more. Tucking in extra stanzas is easy.

Wooded Labyrinth with a fresh carpet of glittering snow.
Wooded Labyrinth with a fresh carpet of glittering snow. | Source

Poetry with and for Children

Pantoum is a poetry style that is accessible to children. They love to be silly, so if there are phrases that young children love to repeat, why not include them in a pantoum that will tickle their funny bone, and invite them to join you in the process?

Children are so full of wonder about their world, so a pantoum is a perfect way to capture that wonder on paper. It is a poetry form that allows the creator of a piece to play with and combine ideas in different ways, thus exercising one's creative muscle. I wonder what would happen if scientists wrote pantoums as part of their path toward finding "breakthroughs" in their field?

Spirituality

Both the process and product are spiritual when constructing pantoums. Writing creatively is a spiritual practice in and of itself. Writing about one's experiences with a particular spiritual practice from an ancient tradition could lead to life-transforming insights. Putting those insights together in a poem that could touch another is a phenomenal gift.

If scientists, civil servants, financial tycoons, and political leaders would write poetry, using the pantoum as a form, I wonder if the world would benefit from their taking time in pursuit of creative problem-solving through writing such a poem. There are many implications for self-reflection through writing poetry. This could lead to effective conflict resolution practices that have the potential to benefit the world with a "butterfly" effect.

The following poem is one dedicated to a spiritual practice - walking labyrinths. It also has elements of fantasy in it that appeal to my daughter.

At the Center of the Labyrinth

I.

At the center of the labyrinth

The wind plays the chimes of wood spirits.

Chipmunks skitter across logs.

Sunlight dances with the shadows of tree branches.

II.

The wind plays the chimes of wood spirits.

Small golden lights float and flicker.

Sunlight dances with the shadows of tree branches.

My hair hugs my neck.

III.

Small golden lights float and flicker.

My bare feet tingle.

My hair hugs my neck.

Clouds descend and join in the dance.

IV.

My bare feet tingle.

My shirt sleeves flutter like a butterfly's wings.

Clouds descend to join in the dance.

A bird rests on my shoulder.

V.

My shirt sleeves flutter like a butterfly's wings,

Chipmunks skitter across logs,

A bird rests on my shoulder,

When I'm at the center of the labyrinth.

Sign that welcomes walkers to our wooded labyrinth.
Sign that welcomes walkers to our wooded labyrinth. | Source
The basic design of our labyrinth, using the natural landscape of the space as a guide for its construction, by Catya Belfer
The basic design of our labyrinth, using the natural landscape of the space as a guide for its construction, by Catya Belfer | Source

© 2012 Karen Szklany Gault

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Comments 10 comments

Yaduvanshi 4 years ago

Good one loved to read it


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 4 years ago from New England Author

Thank you, Yaduvanshi!


Sonya L Morley profile image

Sonya L Morley 4 years ago from Edinburgh

I enjoyed this hub immensely, it is interesting and well written and I loved your Pantoum poem.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 4 years ago from New England Author

Thank you for stopping by and writing, Sonya. Glad you enjoyed my hub, and my poetry. :0)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether

I never thought of labyrinths as being spiritual places, but you are so right! Wonderful hub! Voted up and beautiful.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 4 years ago from New England Author

Glad you enjoyed this hub, Kitty. :0) Yesterday I participated in a Beltane/May Day ritual around our community's wooded labyrinth, with water in the middle to drink and sprinkle, and a song-chant that we all sang as we walked. The ritual was led by a resident wiccan, and was very lovely. :0)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

I enjoyed the read, well written and presented and interesting.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 4 years ago from New England Author

Thank you, Rosemay50! :0)


jonmcclusk profile image

jonmcclusk 3 years ago from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

Excellent poem and explanation of the Pantoum poem genre. I've read many of these but never actually wrote one, perhaps now is a great time to start.


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 3 years ago from New England Author

Hi Jon.

Thank you for stopping by to read a hub of mine. Glad that this hub was useful to you and that you enjoyed the pantoum. Have fun writing some. They are habit-forming. :0)

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    Seafarer Mama profile image

    Karen Szklany Gault (Seafarer Mama)265 Followers
    127 Articles

    Seafarer Mama/Karen is a poet, and reads her poetry to small groups of friends, and to larger groups at open mics.



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