The Clock of Tides and Stars

I smile at the clockwork birds
ploughing sand, their black legs whirring,
a splash of spangled sanderlings
with a wintry breeze beneath their wings.

Ploughing sand, their black legs whirring,
steered here by a cosmic force,
with a wintry breeze beneath their wings,
they followed ancient paths of stars.

Steered here by a cosmic force
from their Arctic breeding turf,
they followed ancient paths of stars
and rushed at sparkles of gushing surf.

From their Arctic breeding turf,
white as the snow fields of their birth,
they rushed at sparkles of gushing surf,
wound like clocks by the pull of Earth.

Kim M. Russell, 22nd April 2018

Image result for sanderlings Pinterest
Image found on Pinterest

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Pantoum

This week Gina introduces us to the next in our exploration of poetic forms: the pantoum. She explains, that it’s a poetic form derived from the pantun, a Malay verse form: specifically from the pantun berkait, a series of interwoven quatrains and rhyming couplets.

She has provided us with a brief history and the basic structure, which is similar to a villanelle, with repeating lines throughout the poem. She also goes into greater detail about verse forms and rhyme schemes.

I’ve reworked and added a stanza to a pantoum I wrote last April for NaPoWriMo. As I’m off the radar for a few days, I’m linking up early – sorry, no ping-back to the dVerse site. 

51 thoughts on “The Clock of Tides and Stars

  1. I really love the sound of this–the initial consonants and the alliteration. The whirring and the splash of spangled sanderlings. It’s a beautiful poem–and I love the pull of the earth and stars!
    Technical question–isn’t the last stanza supposed to include the first and third line of the first stanza? I know there are so many variations of this form. . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Merril. I think I rushed it because I was getting ready to travel to my daughter’s, where I’ve been helping her look after a poorly baby while her husband was away. We’ve just got back. I might have to go back to it again, once I’ve caught up! :Or I might leave it as an irregular pantoum – there could be a name for one of those! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oops! I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner but I’ve been at my daughter’s helping her look after a poorly baby and only just back. I’m trying to catch up and feel like I’m chasing my own tail!
      Thank you for the lovely comment, Merril. I need to revisit the pantoum and may work on this one again or I might leave it as an irregular pantoum – I wonder if there’s a name for one of those…might have to go back to this again

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Merril. Yes, he’s my grandson and it was quite frightening to see him go from a smiley, active little chap to a distressed baby with chattering teeth and blue lips. Thankfully, the antibiotics seem to be working and his temperature has come down. I’m going back in April, as her husband is going to be away again.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. your title pulls me in straight away and i am floating with the birds, pulled by your cosmic clock. a most creative explanation how birds can tell time and read the seasons. you take nature and give it such definition! this is a complex form and as Merril has said above some of the lines aren’t repeating to give the pantoum the interlocking effect, and rhyming alternating lines, but you have a very strong foundation Kim.thank you participating with this amazing look at birds from your side of the planet. see you on the poetry trail when you get back to connectivity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gina! I’m back now and trying to catch up. Once I’m settled back in, I will try to polish this one up to ensure that lines repeat to give the pantoum the interlocking effect and rhyming alternating lines. I think I was distracted by travel preparations and a poorly baby grandson.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This can be a tricky form. I think yours matches one of the alternate choices; regardless, as a poem it soars, chirps and struts.. We do see sanderlings here on them West Coast; lovely to see chorus lines of skinny legs moving in tandem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Glenn. I have to admit, I get so carried away with the words and images that I forget to pay attention to the form! But as I said to Gina, I was distracted by the thought of visiting my daughter and grandson. 😉


  4. First….I love the title, Kim! And then the poem that illustrates the title so well. I’m so “into” the words that I don’t notice the form at all.
    It’s true, right….we can watch the birds to tell the seasons. Never mind the weather. And the idea of the birds following the pull of the stars…
    clockwork birds! 🙂 Smiling I am this morning with this lovely scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry for replying so late but I’ve been away and had quite a stressful time on Sunday evening – my grandson has been very poorly – his teeth were chattering and his lips went blue, so we ended up at the hospital, where he was diagnosed with tonsillitis. They’ve prescribed antibiotics and baby Ibuprofen. If his dad hadn’t returned from a business trip yesterday, I would have still been there,
      Thank you for your lovely comments, Lill! I too get lost in the words and images and kind of lose the form. .


    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Pat I’ve had so many submissions rejected recently that self-doubt has taken ho!d. I’m writing ditties to cheer myself up.


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