Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry

Malay - Pantun

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The Pantun is a Malay poetic form. Pantuns are written in quatrains, generally following an abab rhyme scheme. The second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the following stanza. Finally, the first and third lines of the first stanza become the second and fourth lines of the last stanza, usually in reverse order so that the first and last lines of the poem are identical.

The following example gives an idea of the requirements of the form, and how they can be applied in a verse.

"Opus 1642" by Phillip A. Ellis, 19 September 2004

This is where I dwell—-
under the moon’s beams
I can never tell
why I dream my dreams

under the moon’s beams.
So, I write, in verse,
why I dream my dreams
why my dreams all fade....

So, I write, in verse—-
I can never tell
why my dreams disperse:
this is where I dwell.

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