Before reading this explanation, do yourself a favour and look up the meaning of the form of a pantoum on wikipedia. It's a complicated poetry form that they've described perfectly there.
Another piece on the theme of polyandry, I wanted this to be the poem I gave Simone on our last anniversary, but I couldn't get past the first two stanzas. I thought about the piece now and again over the months, but certain first draft lines were making the construction of the pantoum extremely vexing. I knew I wanted the first and third lines as they appear here, but, the second and fourth lines needed work, and so the sixth and the eighth lines were torturous, and so on.
A pantoum is a chain that cannot suffer a weak link. That's part of why I love the form, but also a big part of why it's so hard to sit yourself down and crank out the creativity. For this piece to get done I had to force myself not to read my book(s) on my lunch breaks at work, and to not think about anything walking to or from work for a few days. And basically to completely rewrite the piece, starting with the first line.
I hope you agree that it was worth it.
I sure think so. Since I kind of invented a new form of pantoum here.
As I hope you read on Wikipedia, a pantoum is divided into ballad-esque stanzas, and I've changed that into three-line groupings. But I've kept the schema of repeating lines in tact, so in order to keep the poem made up of full three-line groups, the whole piece has to present in multiples of twelve. I don't have a name for this form, but maybe a "Haiku Pantoum" would be fun, or "Dodecapantoum" to echo the dodecatina (the twelve-line variation on the sestina).
Something else that turned out to work really well in this piece, I thought, was what happened between the fourth and fifth stanzas. Every line in the piece has seven syllables in the line, except the first line of the fourth stanza which has eight, and the third line of the fifth stanza, with six syllables.
This was done to balance the equation, but look at the word "turn" which appears, as the beginning and ending word of the fourth, transitory stanza. So, the centre word of the poem, if you will, is the word "turn", and gives the feeling of movement from one half to the next.
In haiku, a turn word or "cutting" word is the word that heralds the separation of the first phase from the second phase of the poem. There's an actual list of words acceptable as cutting/turn words that poets would use skillfully to deepen meaning. How Japanese is it, to have a database of acceptable words to be used for a poetic function?
Anyway, I thought it was neat how the actual word "turn" in my poem took on a similar function, and I submit this "Haiku Pantoum," as it were, for consideration to any other poets in need a good form challenge.
I gave this to Simone sort of retroactively the week before I left for Hamilton to launch my first book, In the Wings, from the Redeemer College University cafeteria (we sold out our first run of 500 copies!). And now it's only one month til our next, seventh anniversary.
Back to the drawing board!