Sunday, January 23, 2011


I'm doing what I do when I'm suffering from a block...I play with form. This was originally very different, but when I decided to try writing an unrhymed pantoum, it took quite a turn.

Sorry to miss the Poetry Bus this week, but I'm fresh out of inspiration.


Those words slipped from your lips
like a serpent.
They curled themselves around me
in sinuous caress.

Like a serpent,
they rubbed against me
in sinuous caress.
I am the rough tree bark

they rubbed. Against me,
you shed the truth like skin.
I am the rough tree bark;
you are the fall from grace.

You shed the truth like skin
that holds no living.
You are the fall from grace,
and I never saw it coming.

Like skin that holds no living,
only cold and empty promise,
and I never saw it coming
though the night was ripe with apples.

Only cold and empty promise,
they curled themselves around me.
While the night was ripe with apples,
those words slipped from your lips.


  1. Well, if this is a lack of inspiration I would like some please! I especially love "the night was ripe with apples" - lots of meaning there.

  2. Stunning, multi-layered work, Karen. The jumping-off point of the temptation story and the pantoum form have both been played with to tremendous effect.

    Really loved it, and this stanza quite outstanding, for me

    Like skin that holds no living,
    only cold and empty promise,
    and I never saw it coming
    though the night was ripe with apples

    but of course it is the build, with the repetition, that lends the power. Great stuff!

    And I laugh at your 'blocked'!

  3. I love the form... the repetition is like the rotation of the earth, coming around, circling.

    Very beautiful.

  4. This is simply masterful, Karen. How wonderful it is to have such a key as this to open the block space where poems reside.

  5. "You shed the truth like skin" - Wooowwwww!!!

    Oh if 'twere I so blocked!

  6. Interesting form and interesting style. Better yet interesting and arresting piece for being from someone who is uninspired. I like it Karen.

  7. 120 - much appreciated!

    Bug - Mucho gracias!

    Titus - Merci beaucoup!

    Shakespeare - Danke!

    Okay, I've exhausted my repertoire of thanks yous, so it's back to...

    Chris - Thanks!

    Unknowngnome - Thank you, too.

    TWM - Likewise, Mark. Thanks!

  8. Brilliant! I love the repetitions of the pantoum form - such subtle, yet powerful emphasis. "Sinuous caress" -- wonderful use of sibilance and did ever two words have such sweet sound and such sinister effect?


    P.S. Is "fresh out of inspiration" not an oxymoron?

  9. I love how the poem evolves through repeated lines. Richly worded, it makes a wonderful read. I agree - if this is writers' block, send me some:)

  10. This form fits the shedding and unshedding of layers of truths and untruths. Brilliance here.

  11. Fabulous!
    I am inspired to give this form a try. Effect gives whole new meaning to the words of choice.
    Glad I wandered by here.

  12. Beautiful. I particularly like "you shed the truth like skin". Very nice.

  13. I have Fallen, head-over-heels with this poem, Karen. The word many used and it's true ~ Brilliant.


  14. I wish I had your kind of writer's block. :) Well-crafted, you should do some terzanelles next!

  15. A beautiful piece. I love "the night was ripe with apples." It reminds me of walking in the orchard behind my father's house last autumn, in the twilight, with the air heavy with the smell of the grounders - those already fallen. The truth shed like skin, the skin with no life in it - all wonderful, as is the use of rhyme in this non rhyming poem. The pantoum is a perfect form for this. I suppose that's easy to say, now that form has been masterfully used to contain it.