#Halloweensie: A Pantoum Poem

A row of spooky jack-o-lanterns

A few weeks ago the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) offered members a free online overview course in poetry, led by the amazing poet and writer Lesléa Newman. Pantoum was a new poetry form to me, and I am fascinated with it.

In a nutshell, a pantoum has 4 lines per stanza. In each stanza, you take the second and fourth lines to become the first and third lines of the next stanza until you reach the end where you go back and scoop up the original stanza’s third and first lines. The neatly-tied-up structure appealed to me, especially in this #pandemic time where everything seems to be a loose end!

A pantoum does not require structured meter, although if you wanted to get really fancy you could probably do that, too.

Also, rhyming is optional. But, of course, rhyming was not optional for me! These days that’s my favorite part of writing–finding an unusual word that propels the plot in a direction I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. (see “guitars” below!)

So here’s my pantoum story for #Halloweensie. (Click for more info on this fun contest)

Who’s There?

By Lisa Lowe Stauffer

 

On Halloween

We trick or treat,

With ghosts unseen —

Laughing in the street.

 

We trick or treat

Under twinkling stars,

Laughing in the street–

Do I hear guitars?

 

Under twinkling stars,

A creepy wind cries.

Do I hear guitars?

Skeletons rise . . .

 

A creepy wind cries:

We race the sound–

Skeletons rise . . .

While leaves swirl around.

 

We race the sound!

We take off our masks!

While leaves swirl around–

Who’s there? No one asks.

 

We take off our masks,

With ghosts unseen–

Who’s there? No one asks,

On Halloween.

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