Eidetic Memory Film and Form Inspiration

For our Eidetic Memory Film assignment I sought a poem form that naturally lends itself to its subject. Peter Meinke’s poem “Atomic Pantoum” was my inspiration. See his poem here – http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse/142/1#!/20599409/0

My own Pantoum poem attempt is reproduced below.  Ostensibly it is about Owens Valley, but really it explores how fickle and selective our memory is. To me the most compelling thing about our memories are the enormous holes in them. We effectively remember only an infinitesimal amount compared to what we forget. Like a photograph, which leaves out much more than it frames, only a partial, distorted truth is told.

The Pantoum form is a traditional Malay lyric that can have a chanting effect. Each quatrain’s second and fourth line becomes the first and third lines of the next.  The last stanza circles back around and repeats lines one and three from the opening stanza, causing the poem to begin and end with the same line. The poem can have as many or as few stanza as the author wants.

The water must be guarded
With barbed wire and politics
As memory forgets
A salt grass crusts over

Barbed wire and politics
Lying silent in the valley
A salt crusts over
My fingers like time

Lying silent in the valley
The wind whips and winnows
My fingers like time
Another voice is calling

The wind whips and winnows
As Memory forgets
Another voice is calling
The water must be guarded

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