NaPoWriMo Day 15: The Phantom of the Pantun

Day 15 challenges us to write a pantun. This is a traditional Malay form of poetry. “It consists of rhymed quatrains (ab ab), with 8-12 syllables per line. The first two lines of each quatrain aren’t meant to have a formal, logical link to the second two lines, although the two halves of each quatrain are supposed to have an imaginative or imagistic connection.”

So I’m supposed to sound odd and mysterious. Like I don’t have all my marbles. Not much problem there; I often give off that impression anyway.

I don’t have a name for this poem yet… I don’t like my poems to be untitled. Any suggestions, please?

Untitled. Which is bugging me a little.

Night fades away, a new dawn begins.
Sweet sunshine touches the mountain top.
You turned away and it still stings,
I don’t know if it will ever stop.

Blue sky filters through the string of scattered cloud.
The birds dance and fly for another day.
There was a time you made me proud,
But my pride and joy has since gone away.

Ocean tides ripple, rise, and fall.
Blue waters extend where man cannot.
The words you said to me were never small.
But the girl from that day I have since forgot.

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Share your thoughts with me below. And your ideas for the title of this poem. I wish I could say that some amazing, exciting prize awaits the one with the best title–but it doesn’t. Sadly. I just need a title. For free. No reward. No prize. Sorry. Maybe next time?

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April Time is Here Again

Hi, y’all! It’s April! What a beautiful month it is. Things I love about April:

  • The cold, wet weather
  • Public/school holidays when I get to stay in bed and listen to the rain outside
  • The sound of the word, ‘April’. I think it sounds nice.
  • NaPoWriMo!!

So to start with, let’s just pretend that it hasn’t been months since last I wrote. Okay? Okay. Glad we’ve got that out of the way. I will not make any apologies nor any commitments this time around–we all know how wonderfully that turned out last time… uhem.. (Check out the link for some insight into my current state of shame and embarrassment.)

So it’s National Poetry Writing Month. Oh, yeeah! I’ve decided to go the regimented route, relying on the daily prompts from the NaPoWriMo website to give me some start-up inspiration every day, rather than just writing as the mood strikes me. I fear that if I do choose to go the latter route that the mood might never strike me…

So please do check back here regularly to see how I’m doing with the challenge. I’m quite excited and I hope to make it to 30 days with 30 new poems to show for it!

Here is my first one.

Breaking Down the Door

Let’s do away

With all the useless things we say

The chitter

The chatter

We’ve become so bitter

Our words and thoughts

Have become littered

With inconsequential worldly glitter

 

We care so little

Our promises have become brittle

All our relationships are noncommittal

We say so much but do so little

 

Who will help the friend who is lost?

Who will buy bread for the neighbour

Who cannot afford the cost?

Who will talk to the sister?

Who will listen to the daughter?

We send our children out to the world

Like lambs to the slaughter

And yet we hold our breath

Like we’re underwater

Hoping that the evil of the world hasn’t yet caught her

 

But we don’t know

That it is in the home where the evil begins

We should be our daughters’ best friends

Talking to her mother

Is where a young girl’s confusion and doubt should end

We spend too much time preaching

And not enough teaching

Too much time scolding

And not nearly enough care to moulding

Young women who will go into the world, upholding

Their faith and their virtue

Changing the way the world views

Young women whose words and actions are true

Of which there are too few

 

So let’s do away

With all the useless things we say

Spend a day visiting an old friend down the way

Find out if she is okay

Buy some groceries for your neighbour

Who cannot afford to pay

Listen to what your daughter has to say

Take your sister’s hand and let her rest her head

Let the useless chatter go unsaid

 

It is when we say less

And do more

That we’re a little bit closer to breaking down the door

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Cleri-who?

Clerihew. [Pronounced kle-ri-yoo].

Definition: A witty, satiric verse containing two rhymed couplets and mentioning a famous person. Yeah, first time I’ve ever heard of it, too.

This NaPoWriMo thing has been really awesome–who knew there were so many weird and wonderful styles of poetry in the world? Certainly not me. I mean, I love poetry and all, and I’ve been writing poems since my very early days, but I’ve always just done my own thing, never really stuck to much structure. And I’ve certainly never learnt about clerihews, double dactyls or ekphrastic poetry in the classroom! But in this past month, I’ve learnt much about poetry and have tried interesting new styles of writing. Even though I haven’t been consistently active in participating in the poem-a-day aspect of National Poetry Writing Month, I’ve still been checking in on the website from time to time to see what the latest challenge is–and if I could meet it. So I’ve tried my hand at today’s challenge, which is to write a clerihew, and I want to share it with you…

Louis Tomlinson from One Direction

Had my students screaming from an infection.

Their mindless music is pathogenic,

It causes people to become schizophrenic.

I quite like this one. And the poem is based on true happenings, I might add–my students’ beahviour earlier this week was positively insane about this curly little guy (or maybe one of his other cronies, I can’t really be sure which one… I just grabbed any one of their names after googling them). It was utterly and ridiculously laughable. And sad. Very, very sad.

Anyway, this post is not about that. It is about poetry. And April. And April is just about coming to an end. But poetry shall never end! (Said in a voice filled with conviction). This month has felt really, really long, but wonderfully so. It has been a splendid month, I think. And not just because it was my birthday earlier this month (in fact, that plays a very small part in the greater scheme of things), but because of poetry, for one, and everything else in between, for another. Months are usually just months to me. Nothing special about them. It is days and moments that I usually cherish and reflect back on, but this past month has been something special to me. It has been a month of family and a month of friends. It has been a month of personal growth and of simple reminders leading to beautiful things. It has been a month of sad, harsh truths, and learning to accept them. All in all, it has been a month of people. I think I should write another poem, and title it An Ode to April… That is how passionate I feel about this month that has passed.

Farewell, dearest April. Do come again soon, even if by another name, for April, by any other name, would be as memorable.

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What did you love most about this month? Or what did you hate about it? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

April’s Cool

April ain’t for no fools. April’s cool! I think it is no coincedence that the month of April, the month of my entry into this world, coincides so beautifully with this most aweosme celebration, affectionately dubbed ‘NaPoWriMo‘, which stands for National Poetry Writing Month (And April is also National Poetry Month–minus the ‘writing’. It seems silly to have two titles for it, doesn’t it? Why couldn’t they just settle on one and let it encompass both?). So, in case you’re from South Africa (or any country that is not America or Canada) and are a bit confused because you’ve never before heard about this special celebration that I’ve taken the liberty to invite myself to, well, that would be because it is technically only a national celebration in a particular nation. Not this nation. This nation doesn’t celebrate such awesome and inspiring things, sadly for me. Rather, it is nationally celebrated in America, and I think Canada, too. But hey, poetry knows no bounds, poetry has no nationality! I will hold my head high and celebrate with the best of them. I honestly can think of little else that would be a better way to celebrate my birthday than doing it with poetry. [Things that could possibly top it, or rank alongside it: spending the day with my family. They are awesome. Alhamdulillah.]

So, in celebration of this month, poetry-lovers and -writers are challenged to write a poem a day for the duration of the month of April. The NaPoWriMo website offers different prompts for each day of the month, which are basically new ideas for a poem for each day. And, even though I haven’t been following the prompts up until now (being a hippy and free-spirited poet and all, I cannot be tamed–no, I joke, I’m just undedicated like that; my poetry follows my emotions, not prompts from a website), I have decided to do today’s one. Today’s prompt suggests that we do a parody of another poem. Now, I have never written a poem of this sort before; I have never parodied another poet’s work and I have never before written an intentionally silly poem such as this (though, the unintentional ones I cannot help), so forgive me if it sucks terribly. I had fun writing it, though–who doesn’t enjoy being silly every now and then? I hope you enjoy reading it.

The poem I’ve decided to do a parody on is Trees by Joyce Kilmer. Here it is:

I think that I shall never see

A thing as awful as a child’s glee.

A child whose dancing eyes and scrunched up face can attest

To the pleasure she gets from causing her parents unrest.

A child who takes her parents as prey,

And their peaceful sleep and peace of mind does slay;

A child who has a special flare

For causing her mother to pull out her hair;

She could drive you to use cocaine;

She causes people to go insane.

This poem is all just nonsense, you see,

Children are what causes my heart to be filled with glee.

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A silly little poem, isn’t it? Share your thoughts and laughter with me below. Or, better yet, give your hand a go at it and share a parody of your own–so that I may laugh at you, too.