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Malayan Train Ride (Pantoum)


waxwings

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MALAYAN TRAIN RIDE

(with apology to Brander Mathews*)

 

Once I too took a ride on a train

to escape the grey walls of my room.

While the train sang its song, its refrain,

I was running away from my doom.

 

To escape the grey walls of my room,

I decided to do anything.

I was running away from my doom

which I knew that next autumn would bring.

 

I decided to do anything

while delaying that terrible plight

which I knew that next autumn would bring,

the assignment that I had to write.

 

While delaying that terrible plight,

I returned, having lost all my gloom,

the assignment that I had to write--

I did it! I wrote this pantoum

while the train sang its song, its refrain:

Once I too took a ride on a train.

 

I was inspired to write an example of this Malayan form (pantun) introduced by Ernest Foinet into French versification and then popularized by Victor Hugo. Mathews wrote the only example in English, that I know off, titled "En Route", which too depicts a train ride.

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Fantastic, Ikars! This pantoum even reads like a train ride. I enjoyed the transitions from the doom and gloom of the gray room, to the meandering train, back to the room, albeit with a renewed positive outlook and sense of accomplishment. Well done!

 

Tony

 

PS -- I would love to see the poem that inspired this, Brander Mathews' "En Route." I looked on line but couldn't find it.

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Fantastic, Ikars! This pantoum even reads like a train ride. I enjoyed the transitions from the doom and gloom of the gray room, to the meandering train, back to the room, albeit with a renewed positive outlook and sense of accomplishment. Well done!

 

Tony

 

PS -- I would love to see the poem that inspired this, Brander Mathews' "En Route." I looked on line but couldn't find it.

 

I saw it in the very first book I bought in 1972, when I joined the League of Minnesota Poets when I first started thinking I should try to write poems in English.

 

It was suggested I get The Complete Rhyming Dictionary (And Poet's Craft Book), edited by Clement Woods. If you have it ar access to it, you'll find it on p. 76. If not, I will type it up, unless tinker has it in her compendium and save me the typing. The rhythm and that in mine are just somewhat similar but my lines are a tad longer and reflect the sound of more recently laid rails an/or running gear. Glad you could hear the ta da da da da dada.

 

Be interesting, if you and/or anyone else would, with a really hard-nosed, no nonsense skill of that sort, rewrite/edit mine, for it is likely among the most finished poems I've written.

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I like this piece, very much. While I enjoy the challenge of form poetry, I've never tried this one. Not sure I'm ready to do so.

 

Initially while reading, I was going to recommend you drop the pleonasms, but now I see they are what I call 'place holders' and your rhythm and meter would suffer with their removal and put you outside the parameters of the Pantoum. Fortunately, I read Tony's comment and your response to it and it saved me from making an ass of myself.

 

Very nice work.

 

mq

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I like this piece, very much. While I enjoy the challenge of form poetry, I've never tried this one. Not sure I'm ready to do so.

 

Initially while reading, I was going to recommend you drop the pleonasms, but now I see they are what I call 'place holders' and your rhythm and meter would suffer with their removal and put you outside the parameters of the Pantoum. Fortunately, I read Tony's comment and your response to it and it saved me from making an ass of myself.

 

Very nice work.

 

mq

 

I see only one possible pleonasm, 'terrible plight' but then I stand much, much closer to the poem than even an erudite reader is likely to. Please, let me in on the others. And do you see them to be like tautomerisms, like in, "the white horse was white?"

 

And thanks for your query/comment as much as for reading, enjoying and responding.

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I like this piece, very much. While I enjoy the challenge of form poetry, I've never tried this one. Not sure I'm ready to do so.

 

Initially while reading, I was going to recommend you drop the pleonasms, but now I see they are what I call 'place holders' and your rhythm and meter would suffer with their removal and put you outside the parameters of the Pantoum. Fortunately, I read Tony's comment and your response to it and it saved me from making an ass of myself.

 

Very nice work.

 

mq

 

I see only one pleonasm, but then I stand much, much closer to the poem than a reader is likely to. Please, let me in on the others. And do you see them to be like tautology, like in, "He rode a pale horse that eas was white?" And here, I thought that some 'plights' were not necessarily 'terrible'. :icon_redface:

 

And thanks for your query/comment as much as for reading and responding.

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I like this piece, very much. While I enjoy the challenge of form poetry, I've never tried this one. Not sure I'm ready to do so.

 

Initially while reading, I was going to recommend you drop the pleonasms, but now I see they are what I call 'place holders' and your rhythm and meter would suffer with their removal and put you outside the parameters of the Pantoum. Fortunately, I read Tony's comment and your response to it and it saved me from making an ass of myself.

 

Very nice work.

 

mq

 

I see only one pleonasm, but then I stand much, much closer to the poem than a reader is likely to. Please, let me in on the others. And do you see them to be like tautology, like in, "He rode a pale horse that eas was white?" And here, I thought that some 'plights' were not necessarily 'terrible'. :icon_redface:

 

And thanks for your query/comment as much as for reading and responding.

 

 

I regret mentioning it, for as I told you, it seems they may well be necessary in this piece. Just simple pleonasms, "that" in four lines. 'which I knew next autumn would bring' and 'the assignment I had to write' is what I thought they should be, but I completely concede on this piece of work. "terrible plights" never came close in my book. I'm always looking for that unnecessary word, the removal of which does not affect the meaning at all. But, for rhyme it is often necessary to use the 'place holders'.

 

This is a wonderful piece of work, I intended no criticism of it.

 

Tammi

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I like this piece, very much. While I enjoy the challenge of form poetry, I've never tried this one. Not sure I'm ready to do so.

 

Initially while reading, I was going to recommend you drop the pleonasms, but now I see they are what I call 'place holders' and your rhythm and meter would suffer with their removal and put you outside the parameters of the Pantoum. Fortunately, I read Tony's comment and your response to it and it saved me from making an ass of myself.

 

Very nice work.

 

mq

 

I see only one pleonasm, but then I stand much, much closer to the poem than a reader is likely to. Please, let me in on the others. And do you see them to be like tautology, like in, "He rode a pale horse that eas was white?" And here, I thought that some 'plights' were not necessarily 'terrible'. :icon_redface:

 

And thanks for your query/comment as much as for reading and responding.

 

 

I regret mentioning it, for as I told you, it seems they may well be necessary in this piece. Just simple pleonasms, "that" in four lines. 'which I knew next autumn would bring' and 'the assignment I had to write' is what I thought they should be, but I completely concede on this piece of work. "terrible plights" never came close in my book. I'm always looking for that unnecessary word, the removal of which does not affect the meaning at all. But, for rhyme it is often necessary to use the 'place holders'.

 

This is a wonderful piece of work, I intended no criticism of it.

 

Tammi

 

Why should I think a coment , any comment is a criticism. Only those who think they know it all would think that.

 

As for regrets for mentioning pleonasms, it proves you are well read and desiring to know if there is more to know. Not sure repeating a word is a pleonasm unless it is wrong in every sense of normal usage, i.e., it arguably serves no purpose whatsoever. But, there are respectable poems that will deliberately start almost all lines with the same conjunction, or article or a pronoun.

 

What they require are usu. longer lines having a parallel grammatical structures.

 

There is an article that shows English is structured in such a way that a repetition of "that" is absolutely needed to maintain clear reference of the current point of a text, including a poem, poem to what was said before. My college composition class prof was sure to replace my whiche'es with that's. The reason is Latvian uses the same word "kas", the distinction being drawn from neighboring words and the context, and I had already been acknowledged as a capable writer of short stories well before I learned English. It was an unfortunate inheritance, a quirk from which I was cured almost instantly.

 

Thanks again from responding. Such conversation cannot help but broaden the horizon for both of us. I love it rather than resenting it. Wish there was more time for more of it.

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A most enjoyable and lighthearted read. You use rhyme,rhythm and good humour to great effect. My first reaction at the word “doom” was a dour squint. It does however, work very well in the over-all scheme of the poem. Masterfully done. Benjamin

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A most enjoyable and lighthearted read. You use rhyme,rhythm and good humour to great effect. My first reaction at the word “doom” was a dour squint. It does however, work very well in the over-all scheme of the poem. Masterfully done. Benjamin

 

Thanks for the generous assesment and the incisive observation re "doom".

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