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    • Questing
      I am a strong believer in renewable energy, but it’s not a free lunch.  Significant amounts of energy has to be used to change quartz sand to silicon.   Silane gas produced during the manufacturing process is extremely explosive, and explosions occur.  Another risk is that we currently have no safety masks that can prevent […]
    • Blyth Estuary Evening
      There is a wonderful walk along the line of the old narrow gauge railwayline to Southwold, where it runs alongside the Blyth estuary.  I led a walk for a group of poets there this year, and this was one of the poems that I read on the walk.  We had a very enjoyable workshop after […]
    • As The Light Changes
      The East Anglian Daily Times ran an article entitled ’22 beautiful poems about East Anglia’ in their Saturday magazine insert on March 18th this year. I was very pleased to see this poem of mine on the same page as poems by Sir Walter Raleigh and George Szirtes. TO HEAR THIS POEM PLEASE CLICK ON […]
    • The Last Word
      By way of a change, here is a short piece of prose: In a writers’ group this morning we were challenged to write a short story in 150 words.  The story below contains exactly that number.   The light was starting to fade, and breaking soft waves seemed even quieter.  He stopped collecting pebbles and […]
    • Moving Hands
      How many things that  seemed eternal early in life, have completely vanished?                         TO HEAR THIS POEM PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW ABOVE   Sometime in the nineteen-fifties it perched on the hundred-foot workshop,  where Waitrose’s  entrance is now. It would pace the working lives of hundreds. […]
    • You know you are worth it
      I wrote this poem in mid November this year, then my e-mail inbox started to fill with ‘Pre-Black Friday’ offers, then ‘Black Friday’ offers, followed later by ‘Post Black Friday’ offers, and now I am seeing ‘Black Friday repeat offers’!  Reality has overtaken imagination.   TO HEAR THIS POEM PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE […]
    • Poems for a portrait
      I agreed to sit as the model again this morning for an art group producing portraits.  We had a cultural exchange as at the end of the two sessions as I recited the Haikus composed in my head during the forty minutes of the sitting.  I then exchanged a book of my poetry for the […]
    • Last Orders
      This poem won a ‘Commended’ award in the recent 2016 George Crabbe Poetry Competition.  The competition judge, Moniza Alvi, wrote of ‘Last Orders’ “Tragic and hard hitting, I found this poignant poem compelling.”  ” This is a poem with a real sense of urgency”. PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM […]
    • Irony
      During a few days in Liverpool we visited Crosby Beach, to see the Antony Gormley sculptures arranged as  ‘Another Place’.  Two friends had been examining the work, and turned to walk off the beach.  I took the photograph below, and the poem was written after I examined the image, using an  element of artistic license. ‘Communing’ […]
    • Illuminating Longing
      Here is a shared experience from the night of the full ‘Strawberry  Moon’ on June 20th.  A warm evening after a wet morning promised the sight of Nightjars hunting, and the moon was a bonus, PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   The mist quilt  slips across the sodden heath […]

The Pantoum

The Pantoum was originally a Malayan form of verse which was adopted by European poets in the mid 1800’s, although they dropped the Malayan format of the first two lines of each stanza being about the natural world, and the third and fourth lines being about human interaction. European poets simply used the construction formula.

The Pantoum s written in interlinked quatrains, and the poem begins and ends with the same line.  The rhyming is a-b-a-b, and the particular aspect of the form is that the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the following stanza.  In the final stanza the unrepeated first and third lines are used, but in reverse order, so that the last line in the poem is a repeat of the first line in the poem.

Here is one that I have written to illustrate the form:

The Traditional Floor Maltster’s lament.

Strands of my knowledge are useless
although they took years to collect,
if I could purge them I’d be ruthless
randomly they weave through the intellect.

Although they took years to collect
the chances to use them are minimal
randomly they weave through the intellect
and some even verge on subliminal.

The chances to use them are minimal
empiric skills that are mainly historic
and some even verge on subliminal
managing events that merge to the mystic

Empiric skills that are mainly historic
elementary control of  air, water and fire
managing events that merge to the mystic
awakening embryos to form acrospires.

Elementary control of  air, water and fire
If I could purge them I’d be ruthless –
awakening embryos to form acrospires –
strands of my knowledge are useless!

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