Passage as Pantoum

by RC James
Babilu
Second Place, October 2016
Judged by Richard Krawiec


I don’t pretend to know answers,
only questions occupy me now.
Holy gestures are not an abiding end;
I’m trying to fathom the distances.

Only questions occupy me. Now,
forever kneels in silence.
I’m trying to fathom the distances
as you sing on the other side.

Forever kneels. In silence,
my grieving in itself contains lessons.
As you sing on the other side,
those who hear you might gasp and take pause.

My grieving in itself contains lessons.
Holy gestures are not an abiding end.
Those who hear you might gasp and take pause.
I don’t pretend to know answers.


I generally don't like pantoums, to be honest. They often seem too aware of their technique. So it was nice to read one where the repetition focused on the point of the poem, its exploration of death and grief, coming around, as it seems to me, to the personal response being more important than the ritual gestures. Again, I liked the tightness of the lines, the sense there weren't any unnecessary words. --Richard Krawiec

  • May2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Burying My Brother
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Second Place

      The Asian man who walks past the balcony
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Five Hundred Yards from Home
      by Richard Moorhead
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • April 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      In the next life we were married
      by Ken Brownlow
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To a Wayward Son
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Separation
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block