The Caged Bird Caterwauls – A Pantoum

I know why the caged bird sings
Sour sweet melodies of human maladies
Vibrating out into the fractured world
There is no accompanying harmony

Sour sweet melodies of human maladies
Poetic squawks implored yet ignored by broken ears
There is no accompanying harmony
When the free birds don’t want change

Poetic squawks implored yet ignored by broken ears
She caterwauls until the cage shatters
When the free birds don’t want change
Her powerful voice portends the power of action

She caterwauls until the cage shatters
Vibrating out into the fractured world
Her powerful voice portends the power of action
This is why the caged bird sings*

A late response to Patrick’s Pic and a Word #201 – Fractured this week. Patrick’s poem about “fractured memories altered with time…[manipulated] to serve the present” stumped me for a while. His words ring true – especially since truth seems like such a rare commodity these days. Even the priest at my church today spoke of the importance of truth and to stay away and not believe the “King of Lies” (aka the Devil or Satan).

Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt asked the question: Does poetry make a difference? My response with this poem is a resounding “YES!” especially when poetry speaks one’s truth and leads to action. How many speeches delivered by great civil rights leaders and activists read and sound like poetry? How many of their words inspired and strengthened and called to action people who might have otherwise stood by the sidelines? Conversely, how many poets have written/spoken words that inspired and strengthened and called to action? One such poet was Maya Angelou.

The first and last line of this pantoum is the same* (as the form requires) and comes from Maya Angelou’s literary autobiography of the same name. This book is part of the Feminist Book Title Challenge from Christine at Brave and Reckless. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was a poet/writer/activist whose words and work centered the reality and truth of her African American female experience. Her poem, “Still I Rise,” is my current mantra especially after reading about the recent incidents of gun violence perpetrated by white supremacists in the USA, as well as the unfettered proliferation of anti-immigrant policies.

Maya Angelou also wrote a poem titled, “Caged Bird” (1983), which has the following refrain:

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill 
Of things unknown but longed for still 
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for 
The caged bird sings of freedom. 

* Edited 8/27/2019

I changed the last line of the poem from the original “I know why the caged bird sings” to its current form “This is why the caged bird sings.” While I know it breaks the Pantoum form, I felt the message (of the need for poets to continue to raise their voices especially in times of injustice) superseded the form. I hope you agree! (If not, please let me know! The editing process is a continuous one….😁).

©️ iido 2019

For My Little Boy Who is Growing – A Pantoum

At a hole in the knee
I shout once again
As you stand right before me
I miss your look of pain

I shout once again
When I step on your toy
I miss your look of pain
When I decry having a boy

When I step on your toy
A hug and a kiss you proffer
When I decry having a boy
Heart melting is your laughter

A hug, a kiss you proffer
As you stand right in front of me
Heart melting is your laughter
At a hole in the knee

Today is my son’s birthday – he is 6!! And growing fast! I wrote this when I was folding laundry one February evening and working on Gina’s Pantoum prompt from d’Verse.

All his pants – for school and play and pajamas – now have holes in the knee, both knees. We have already gone up a size but my boy is tall and lanky so what fits in length is too loose at the waist and what fits at the waist are like capris on him. I can’t stop him from growing. And I can’t tell whether my heart is bursting or breaking with love and pride for him.

©️ iido 2019

Entangled Excuse – A Pantoum

Entangled in your sheets again!
A groan? A moan? Tickling my ear?
Needing to get up but when
I try to move you snuggle near

A groan, a moan tickling my ear
Your arms wrap around me
I try to move, you snuggle near
Your intent awakens suddenly

Your arms wrap around me
The alarm calls my name
Your intent awakens. Suddenly,
I’m late! Who am I to blame?

The alarm calls my name
Needing to get up, but when
I’m late, who am I to blame
Entangled in your sheets again?

Another Pantoum for Gina at dVerse! This time coupled with Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #176 – Entangled. I think this Pantoum more closely follows the form.

It was quite fun, actually, to think of sentences of phrases that could be changed with punctuation, but definitely a challenge to put it together and have it make sense. I also played around with WP to see how to stop it from messing with the spacing of the lines when I publish the posts. I am really quite mindful of things like that but had given up with WP since I am not the savviest with technology.

* Feedback on this Pantoum is welcome and much appreciated! Thank you in advance for your comments! *

Lastly, dedicating this one to my Honey BK (Before Kids).

©️ iido 2019

Tundra – A Pantoum

A tundra – cold and frozen
Defines the landscape of blame
Bereft of all connection
Yet longing to reclaim

Defined – the landscape of blame
Just needs forgiveness to light
And longing can reclaim
The love that heals the blight

Needing forgiveness to light
The way won’t seem that long
The love that heals the blight
Will help those words come out strong

The way won’t be that long
Since longing can reclaim
To help those words come out strong
Redefine the landscape of blame.

The picture above is from Hélène’s “What Do You See?” Weekly Challenge Picture prompt. When I saw it, I immediately thought it would fit with Frank’s post on dVerse about “Blame and Forgiveness” but alas, a poem did not matriculate before Mr. Linky was gone. Then today, the lovely Gina posted on dVerse about the Pantoum form and the pieces all fell together!

* I welcome any and all feedback on this form. Thank you in advance for your thoughts! *

Blaming another is really an isolating feeling. To me, it’s a disconnect from the other person and from your own self. When you are finding fault, it usually means you are overlooking the good parts, the parts that connect you with the other and that might also connect you to your better self.

Forgiveness is a reconnection. True, taking that first step to reconnection or maybe even the reconnection itself may be overwhelming. But the love and peace that can come with a reconciliation is one of the greatest gifts one can give and receive.

Is there someone you need to forgive? Welcome that person (or even yourself) back from that cold tundra with open arms and a hot beverage and you’ll be rewarded with the brightest flame of all!

©️ iido 2019