The Lock

Sometimes, it’s the most random things that can spark a poem. This week’s poem came from contemplating the lock I use to lock up my stuff at the gym: it’s pretty much the same as the kind I used in high school. No fancy screens or batteries–just an old-school steel lock that requires me to memorize the combination. Strange how some things have not changed….

This week’s poem is in the form of a pantoum. This form of poem is from Malaysia, and was introduced to Western writers in the nineteenth century. It has a very definite repetition of lines, and seems to circle back on itself. The lines themselves are between eight and twelve syllables, and don’t have to rhyme, but I thought it would be fun if they did. Because of the repetition and circular nature of the form, it’s a great form for writing about the past.

The Lock
by Julie Sumner

Its persistent existence is miraculous:
Die cast steel–ordinary, weighty, pendulous.
Have we forgotten how to remember?
The lock demands we memorize its numbers.

Die cast steel–ordinary, weighty, pendulous,
No pixels or messages to remind us–
The lock demands we memorize its numbers,
Secret code, known by heart, unlocks the tumblers.

No pixels or messages to remind us–
Its persistent existence is miraculous,
Secret code, known by heart, unlocks the tumblers.
Have we forgotten how to remember?

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