leavetaking – a pantoum

The pantoum is a poetic form originating in 15th century Malaysia that uses lots of repetition. It’s a poem of any length composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The repeated lines may have subtle changes that shift the meaning. The final stanza is often two lines from the first stanza.

leavetakinga pantoum

eventually, even stars sputter out
gray whales and the tiniest mouse
we all have an allotted span—
what to make of this earthly time?

gray whales and the tiniest mouse
no choice, we all are called home
how to parse this earthly time?
it’s both precious and doesn’t matter

there’s no choice; we all return home
we leave and arrive, leave and arrive
it’s precious and has no meaning
can you celebrate your homecoming?

we arrive and leave, arrive and leave
the schedule is not of our making
can you celebrate your leavetaking?
your return to the deepest home?

we all have an allotted span
eventually, even stars sputter out

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

9 thoughts on “leavetaking – a pantoum

  1. Wali

    Dear Amrita,
    I hope you don’t mind me reposting your post. Today I reposted leavetaking” in an Ziraat discourse list as it was perfect for the conversation there. “You are fully credited with copyright in tact.
    Well done!


  2. Laurie and Timothy Neeno

    Dear Amrita, Wow! I love the structure – it’s the second time I have seen you create a pantoum and like the first one I feel you have used it exquisitely! Beautiful poem on the topic of death! xoxo, Rabia


    1. Somehow I think I missed this comment. Thank you, Rabia! I do enjoy the pantoum form. They almost write themselves because of the rolling repetition. A couple of pantoums coming up in the next eleven days. I wrote thirty of them last month!


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