Driving to the hospital. Pantoum for dVerse

I should know this by now, this stop and start
traffic that’s not going anywhere –
we surge and stop, just like a beating heart –
going nowhere, seeking somewhere.

Traffic that’s not going anywhere.
I’m trapped, like wasp in golden amber,
going nowhere, seeking somewhere,
wanting to get there, but not be there.

I’m trapped, like wasp in golden amber,
heading slowly, half wishing it were slower,
wanting to get there, but not be there,
wish it would start, or not start, or be over –

heading slowly, half wishing it were slower,
and the guy in the next car grins at me,
wish it would start, or not start, or be over –
I smile back. Why not? Smiles are free.

The guy in the next car grins at me,
he moves ahead, and then he falls behind.
I smile back – why not? – smiles are free –
he doesn’t know the stuff that’s on my mind.

He moves ahead, and then he falls behind.
but really, I’m not moving here at all –
he doesn’t know the stuff that’s on my mind,
the fear of stepping out, fear of freefall.

And really, I’m not moving here at all,
I surge and stop, just like a beating heart,
the fear of stepping out, fear of freefall –
I should know it by now, this stop and start.

Another pantoum – I was trying to think of things that ebb and flow the way the repetitions do in this form. Feedback very welcome on this one. It’s a bit rough and ready. For Gina at dVerse.

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16 thoughts on “Driving to the hospital. Pantoum for dVerse

  1. This is interesting Sarah. By the title….and then the stopping and starting….and wanting to be there and not be there….all perfect for this stop and start and circle round form. I’m reminded of visiting my mother in the hospital — wanting to be there and not wanting to be there – wanting to be with her but not wanting to see her failing more. All those stops and starts of emotions….

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  2. I have to catch up with all your pantoums. You’re really rocking them, Sarah!
    I liked this a lot–it seemed the rhythm sort of stopped and started, but it fit the poem perfectly. I can imagine this scene so well.

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  3. even in stagnation, there is a cycle, you describe that so well here. being stuck, stationary, physically but the mind is free and wants to go forward. this makes me think of people locked in their own minds an cannot verbalise, they see others through a windshield, mute to everyone except themselves, the smiles sometimes condescending. when a poet writes like this it atkes us to a different level of understanding humanity and its most basic desires. i think this is my new favourite now!

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  4. this reminds me of the stages of change, the pre-contemplation, contemplation, and action, which does go in a circular motion, forward circles, the same but changing. very well chosen lines!

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  5. How did you do that, Sarah? You’ve described my Sunday afternoon/evening in your Pantoum! Only I didn’t do the driving as my husband had my car – Ellen and I had to take baby Lucas to A&E in an Uber. But there was indeed ‘stop and start traffic’ and we were trapped like wasps in golden amber, wanting to get there as quickly as possible while at the same time really not wanting to be there at all. No smiles though. You are most definitely on a Pantoum roll!

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