How to Write a Pantoum Poem

"Pantoum" is a poetic form that relies on the repitition of lines for emphasis. Writing a pantoum is relatively easy if you follow the correct pattern...

In a pantoum, each stanza (paragraph) contains 4 lines. The second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the next stanza. This pattern is repeated until the last stanza. A pantoum's last stanza borrows the first and third lines of the poem, making the first line and the last line identical.


Therefore, the repeating pattern of a 7-stanza pantoum (in numeric form) would be as follows:


1,2,3,4---2,5,4,6---5,7,6,8---7,9,8,10---9,11,10,12---11,13,12,14---13,3,14,1


Check out my example below, then try writing your own pantoum ;)

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Love & Sin

I cannot keep you

We could never be

Because our lies are true

You don’t belong to me.


We could never be

Why can’t I call you mine?

You don’t belong to me

So lay it on the line


Why can’t I call you mine?

Our puzzle pieces fit

So lay it on the line

As I wallow in this pit


Our puzzle pieces fit

Two destined hearts denied

As I wallow in this pit

Devouring tears, our souls collide


Two destined hearts denied

Hide pain behind friendship

Devouring tears, our souls collide

Never let the secret slip


Hide pain behind friendship

Love and Sin, the Deadly Match

Never let the secret slip

I know I’m too attached


Love and Sin, the Deadly Match

Because our lies are true

I know I’m too attached

and I cannot keep you.

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Comments 19 comments

tnderhrt23 profile image

tnderhrt23 5 years ago

Very interesting hub. I love your example, here too. Thanks!


Daniella Lopez profile image

Daniella Lopez 5 years ago from Arkansas

Fabulous hub! Thanks for the great explanation as well as the lovely example.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Your Pantoum repeated itself beautifully with this fine example of your talented quill. You penned these words of Love and Sin with style. Simply brilliant.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii Author

tnderhrt23, Daniella Lopez, & saddlerider1: Much thanks for your encouraging words ;) I hope I've inspired you to write a pantoum of your own! The pantoum really has a wonderful way of taking an emotion and magnifying it!!


ShonEjai profile image

ShonEjai 5 years ago from California

wow, interesting genre. Never heard of it before. I will try it. thanks very much! www.picture-speak.com


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi ShonEjai! Thanks for your sweet comment...I'm certain you'll enjoy writing in the pantoum form ;) Also, thanks for the link- you've got some really beautiful pieces there! Your bird poem and photo is gorgeous!!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I have tried to write pantoums, and though I succeed on the level of fitting its pattern, I find it challenging to make the poem work as a unit. You succeed where I do not, with this poem.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii Author

Thanks Storytellersrus! There was really so much emotion behind this one that it sorta spilled itself onto the page- I was just lucky to have captured it!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

That is very impressive! Good for you.


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 5 years ago

Beautifully done!


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi QudsiaP1! Thanks for stopping by!


hush4444 profile image

hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

I've never seen this form of poetry and I can't wait to try one. Your poem flows so well that it's an inspiration!


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii Author

Thanks hush4444! I love that the power of a pantoum comes from the repetition...almost like the echo off of a majestic mountain ;) Mahalo for reading and commmenting!


jhamann profile image

jhamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

Thank you for this hub on the Pantoum, it was informative and your Pantoum was very well written. Thank you. Jamie


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi Jamie! Thanks for the read! Glad you liked the poem & hope you enjoy the pantoum form ;)


August Xavier profile image

August Xavier 4 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

Well, done. Just a minor note you did rhyme your example abab with the final stanza baba, but didn't mention that in your instructions. Is the rhyme scheme necessary, then, for a proper pantoum? Thanks for the hub.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi AugustXavier!

Using rhyme is not necessary to stay true to Pantoum format. This particular poem just seemed to fall onto the paper that way, as the rhyme almost intensifies the persona's yearning.

As long as you that you follow the repeating line patten, you're good to go!

Hope this helps and thanks for reading!!


Olde Cashmere profile image

Olde Cashmere 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

This is well written and your poem is fantastic. I have not heard of this form of poetry prior to reading. Thank you for sharing this. Voting up and rating useful, awesome, and interesting :)


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Thanks for your sweet comment and votes of praise, Olde Cashmere! I hope you enjoying playing with the pantoum format...these poems almost seem to write themselves!

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