Simply Shattered: A Pantoum Poem

The following poem is a pantoum, which is a form of poetry that originated from a structure entitled "pantum" or woven quatrains. This unique structure uses recycled lines from earlier parts of the poem. Specifically, the structure can be interpreted in the following way:




If each letter represents a different line, the above example shows that all lines are repeated at least once. The number of stanzas is flexible. The poet can write as many as they want as long as the last line is the first and the third line is second to last. Each stanza repeats two lines, the second and forth in the previous stanza and uses them for the first and third lines in the new stanza.

In order to keep this poem from sounding repetitive, the poet usually changes the punctuation when they recycle a line. In the poem below, I use punctuation in many ways to change the line's meaning, yet, HubPages does not let me strike out script, which was a vital part to my poem. To illustrate the original format of my poem, I have made a graphic (below) and also pasted the text below that image.


"Simply Shattered" without Strikeouts

Simply shattered

by a statement

she sits alone

comforted by a cup of coffee,

by a statement

she wrote down to be

comforted by. A cup of coffee

was sitting at the other end of the table.

She wrote: “Down To be

happy, I need the man who

was sitting at the other end of the table,

but he is gone now,

happy. I need the man. Who

can never feel what I feel.

But, he’s gone. Now,

He will never

can never feel what I feel.”

Her mind went blank.

He will never

see her like this again.

Her mind went. Blank

checks were sent so he wouldn’t have to

see her. Like this, again

and again for twenty years.

Checks were sent. So, he wouldn’t have to

watch it again

and again. For twenty years,

every bit of her faded away.

watch it again.

Every bit of her faded away.

She sits alone,

simply shattered.

The poem above is about a woman who cannot move on from something said to her by the man she loves. Ultimately, the woman begins to shut down physically and mentally. Because of this, she is doomed to repeat the same mistakes and never move on from where she is now, alone and "simply shattered."

The form of the poem further illustrates this point by recycling lines. The structure is symbolic to the content of the pantoum due to its repetitive nature. The poem also ends where it began, showing that there was hardly any progression throughout the story line. Like the woman, this poem has failed to progress.

I apologize for having this poem repeated twice, but the strikeouts are vital to this poem. They illustrate the attempt at progression, but the ultimate rejection of progress. Thank you for reading.

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Comments 11 comments

A Lady Like profile image

A Lady Like 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

I read it out of curiousity.....I love it's cleverness and the haunting feeling it leaves in you when you have finished reading the last line.

brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Thank you so much, A Lady Like. I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Mahalo.

Chasing Riley profile image

Chasing Riley 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Very interesting. I had never heard of a pantoum before. In addition to liking the poem itself, your information at the bottom really added to my understanding.

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Wow! I be that took some thinking to get the repetitive lines to work together like that. I have never heard of this kind of writing - at least not that I can remember. It's very intriguing.

It was so well written.

brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Thank you so much, Riley!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

.....fabulous says the epi-man - just fabulous - because you are taking the poetic voice into different and exciting directions by changing up the flow and the tempo to alter what poetry should look like - bold and daring and fresh - well, that's just you - my divine Miss Todd of Brittany ....... lake erie time ontario canada 6:43am about to watch the daybreak over the lake with a cup of coffee

brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

homesteadbound, thank you so much for your comment. I love pantoums.

Epi, you know me, always trying to push it to the limit! Thank you so much for your kind comment.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Never heard of a pantoum before this, brittany.Very different and refreshing read.Loved it. And thanks for the explanation of what a pantoum is.

Awesome and voted accordingly.

brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Thanks, rajan. Pantoums are some of my favorite poems because they are so dependent on an author's skill. You should try to make one whenever you are suffering from writer's block.

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Derdriu 5 years ago

Brittany: What a magnificent, mesmerizing, monumental expression of confining philosophy, frozen sentiments and self-locking destiny! The pantoum still is effective with the way in which you are required to submit it. But I understand your artistic sensitivities and appreciate such a graphically attractive and textually impact-ful inclusion as the pantoum as it is meant to be.

You have, through your pantoum's female character, out-Camused Albert Camus' Joseph who gets trapped on the first line of his beautiful Amazon poem in "La peste" ("The plague").

Thank you for sharing, best wishes for the contest, voted up, etc.,


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Author

Derdrie, I am speechless. Thank you so much for your kind words! I can't thank you enough. Mahalp nui loa. - Brittany

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