Paris Pantoum

V's fountain

Back from my all too short Italian holiday, and back into the swing of everyday life, a little slower than usual.

This poem deals with travel, but it’s not about Italy. I’m still waiting for my experiences there to percolate into poetry. This is one I wrote as an exercise a couple of years ago, when I was taking a master class in poetic forms and styles. It’s a pantoum.

I found the pantoum form rather annoying with its strict scheme of repetitions. However, it’s always good to challenge yourself to try something a bit demanding. Although I probably wouldn’t write a pantoum as my first choice of poetic form, (my preference being free verse), I was reasonably satisfied with my 6th attempt at this.

The image is a sketch my daughter made many years ago of one of the fountains mentioned in this poem, the one in Launceston’s Princes Square (Tasmania). Strangely enough, the Launceston fountain is identical to the one on Boston Common, which she was surprised to see when she moved to Boston.

Fountains have become a running joke for us. Whenever we come across a new one – especially an ornate one – we send each other photos of it.

Paris Pantoum

My daughter’s gone to Paris for a week.

She went with her spouse and a lover,

(His lover, not hers, you understand),

To see Paris in the springtime.

She went with her spouse and his lover,

(An apparently amicable affair),

To see Paris in the springtime,

Where she had not been before.

An apparently amicable affair,

The threesome went round together

Where she had not been before.

It was all new territory for her.

The threesome went round together:

Museums, cafes, la Tour Eiffel –

All new territory – for her

To see Paris in the springtime.

Museums, cafes, la Tour Eiffel,

With her spouse and his lover she went

To see Paris in the springtime,

An apparently amicable affair.

With her spouse and his lover she went

Walking the streets and boulevards,

(An apparently amicable affair).

They came upon an ornate fountain.

Walking the streets and boulevards,

Where she had never been before,

She came upon an ornate fountain.

She sent me a photo of this fountain –

Where she had never been before –

In a little park on the Rive Gauche.

She sent me a photo of this fountain:

Similar to those in Boston, Launceston.

In a little park on the Rive Gauche,

She strolled among trees and flowering shrubs –

Similar to those in Boston, Launceston –

Although she had never been there before.

She strolled among trees and flowering shrubs,

Alone and at ease in the little park,

Although she had never been there before.

She sent me a photo to show where it stood.

Alone and at ease in that little park

On the Rive Gauche with its ornate fountain,

She sent a photo to show where it stood.

No spouse or lover appeared in the frame.

On the Rive Gauche with its ornate fountain,

She took photos of trees and flowering shrubs.

No spouse or lover appeared in the frames.

My daughter’s been to Paris for a week.