The Pathya Vat, or: Form verses creativity

Sangeetha & David’s new poetry project

Once upon a time, two poets who’d never met in person spontaneously began writing verses back and forth to one another over the Internet. Their first poetry project took them some nine months: a 100 verse Hyakuin.

Once they’d completed their oeuvre, the two decided to continue their creative journey together; and Sangeetha came up with a fun new idea, which David loved – to explore different poetic forms together, working through the Alphabet from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.

Every week, for twenty-six weeks beginning in January of the year 2022, they would take turns selecting poetic forms beginning with the letter corresponding to that particular week (1=A, 2=B, etc., etc.) and write poems to one another using that form.

David suggested they call their new project ‘Form verses creativity’, and so it began.

P for Pathya Vat

David’s Pathya Vat

Each day, I think
‘bout poor Ukraine
‘bout pointless pain
‘bout foolish pride

As of today
Thousands have died
Shot dead outside
While millions fled

I know the lies
Russians are fed
Get in their heads
And lead to hate

Putin would like
To recreate
An empire great
And can’t look weak

Some close to me
Say such critique
Causes them pique
Insults their views

They say Russians
Are much abused
Just like the Jews
At Nazi hands

Oh, how I wish
They’d understand
This cannot stand
This hateful ploy

How many might
Putin deploy
And lives destroy
In his hubris

Though Russia’s now
At the abyss
Crushed by crisis
He beats his chest

This cruel tyrant
Dark soul possessed
He blames the West
For deaths in vain

Sangeetha’s Pathya Vat

Each day I think
of bombs and guns
daughters and sons
will answer to

Beyond today
what will they do
to start anew
when bullets rest

When blood congeals
will they forget
or put to test
triggers and trust

Will they question
history's rust
Which side shot first
And then decide

on scattered graves
where children cried
To hope or hide
Or take revenge

The streets now reek
of human stench
of thirsts to quench
How will this end?

Pathya Vat?

The Pathya Vat is a Cambodian verse form, consisting of four lines of four syllables each, where lines two and three rhyme. When a poem consists more than one stanza, the last line of the previous stanza rhymes with the second and third lines of the following one.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

41 thoughts on “The Pathya Vat, or: Form verses creativity”

  1. Both poems vividly document and portray the war. ❤ Well-done, David and Sageetha!

    I heard today that the Italian jacket and turtleneck sweater worn by Putin at his recent rally together cost more than the annual salary of the average Russian. It seems in poor taste for him to flaunt his wealth when the Russian economy is in shambles! I think sackcloth and ashes would be more appropriate!

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