In response to today’s prompt over at d’Verse, here is a Pantoum I wrote a while back, prompted by a photograph taken many years ago in a valley on Crete.

The Priests in the Valley
The chapel sits hard against the rock,
the valley quiet and still
a scent of thyme haunts the air
as the midday sun beats down.

The valley quiet and still
bright blue thistles mix with scrub
the midday sun beats down
a distant sound, the silence cut.

Bright blue thistles mix with scrub,
a lone cross tidy on a rock
a distant sound far below
two priests stride out from the cool.

a white cross tidy on a rock,
far below pale steps glint in the sun
two priests stride out into the heat
to begin their long walk home.

Pale steps glint in the sun
a scent of thyme haunts the air
footsteps whisper in the valley –
the chapel sits hard against the rock.


  1. nice…i really love your description of place…it puts us right there…and your choices also set the mood of the place…serene would be my word for it…an easy slide thorugh your verse…like a sigh…enjoyed hte little adjustments you made along the way to keep the story/scene moving……

  2. wow make that photo come alive with your pantoum…love all the details and mood that you paint with your words

  3. Laurie Kolp

    This is so lovely… great image of the priests walking home with all the sounds and textures.

  4. This is very rich with all I love about reading. I enjoyed the visions, the characters, the gait of the priests, the background. Excellente!

  5. Poetry has the power to transport you to a different time and place, and in this piece you manage to transport us right into the heart of that photograph, to experience all that it implies.

  6. It was like being there. This prompt was my first attempt at a pantoum and I’ve learned much from reading yours. I especially liked the line “a distant sound, the silence cut.”

  7. jcosmonewbery

    I really like that – an excellent result from a tricky form.

  8. What a lovely photograph. I expect the priests find it so quite there. I’m not very fond of the pantoum form but have to say, I really enjoyed this one of yours. Thanks for the visit.

  9. Oh now that is just fabulous. I particularly like that repeated line ‘the chapel sits hard against the rock’. It’s like an evocation, but also makes a physical connection with that hard, magnificently rugged landscape. My gardener’s head is also very thrilled. I think those thistles are wild echinops, smaller more perfect versions of the ones in my garden which I grew from seed.

    • Sue

      Glad you enjoyed this, Tish….from the days when I used to write poetry. Interesting how you picked up on the thistles – we used to have something similar in our garden, but not a clue what they were.

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