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Found 24 results

  1. Iambic Eclipse

    Iambic Eclipse I had a tetrameter dream with neat iambic pattern flow. I rose to write the rhythm down, the beat would come and it would go No special day do I relate, the sun's eclipse was blocked by fog, the day was gray. I had to watch the big event in photo log. ~~Judi Van Gorder The prompt: Write about a special event in iambic meter.
  2. Appreciating Metrical Larkin

    (A follow-up topic to Scanning Contemporary Masters' Meter) ____________________ XXVI (from "The North Ship") Love, we must part now: do not let it be Calamitous and bitter. In the past There has been too much moonlight and self-pity: Let us have done with it: for now at last Never has sun more boldly paced the sky, Never were hearts more eager to be free, To kick down worlds, lash forests; you and I No longer hold them; we are husks, that see The grain going forward to a different use. There is regret. Always, there is regret. But it is better that our lives unloose, As two tall ships, wind mastered, wet with light, Break from an estuary with their courses set, And waving part, and waving drop from sight. ____________________ Wires The widest prairies have electric fences, For though old cattle know they must not stray Young steers are always scenting purer water Not here but anywhere. Beyond the wires Leads them to blunder up against the wires Whose muscle-shredding violence gives no quarter. Young steers become old cattle from that day, Electric limits to their widest senses. ____________________ Home is so Sad Home is so sad. It stays as it was left, Shaped to the comfort of the last to go As if to win them back. Instead, bereft Of anyone to please, it withers so, Having no heart to put aside the theft And turn again to what it started as, A joyous shot at how things ought to be, Long fallen wide. You can see how it was: Look at the pictures and the cutlery. The music in the piano stool. That vase. ____________________ The Importance of Elsewhere Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home, Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech, Insisting so on difference, made me welcome. Once that was recognised, we were in touch. Their draughty streets, end-on to hills, the faint Archaic smell of dockland, like a stable, The herring-hawker's cry, dwindling, went To prove me separate, not unworkable. Living in England has no such excuse: These are my customs and establishments It would be much more serious to refuse. Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.
  3. Badge and I have been having some Fun with Scansion, scanning each others' metrical endeavors in the workshop. We've decided to scan some contemporary (20th century and new millennium) masters' poems in furtherance of our study of meter. Badge has suggested that we limit the poems we scan to ten lines or less, so that he can scan them as time permits, but I'll say lets keep them around the length of a sonnet (14 lines) or less. If someone wants to scan a poem and has limited time to do so, he can just scan the octet (first eight lines) or the sestet (the last six lines) of a sonnet. I'm going to suggest that we focus on iambic meters of various lengths since iambic meter is the predominant meter in the English language. Besides, my own limited experience with meter is further limited to the iambic variety, so I probably wouldn't be much help when it comes to scanning the others. Honestly, I'm not very excited by other meters, but if someone wants to present poems written in other meters, I'd certainly give them a try, too. Maybe I'd start to like them! If anyone wants to jump in, don't hesitate. 1. Declare what the meter is 2. Scan the poem 3. Point out any anomalies Let's get right to it. I'll start it off with an elegy by James Wright, followed by two short poems from Edgar Bowers, and a sonnet I like very much (although in my opinion it's a doozie!) by Dana Gioia. I'll withhold my own scansions until there's reply. ______________________ A Winter Day in Ohio Clever, defensive, seasoned animals Plato and Christ deny your grave. But man, Who slept for years alone, will turn his face Alone to the common wall before his time. Between the woodchuck and the cross, alone All afternoon, I take my time to mourn. I am too cold to cry against the snow Of roots and stars, drifting about your face. ---------------------------James Wright ______________________ Insomnia He wakes at four and knows what he must do. His book awaits him. Mercury and Saturn Control the shadow cast by earth on day. The surf is like a shadow on the moon, His listening like a prayer, and his awareness A pool, on which a mythic self appears. Then, having thought aloud what might have been For him who is the only one he knows, In the pure present, in the light, he sleeps, And wakens in the need to have no need. ---------------------------Edgar Bowers Living Together Of you I have no memory, keep no promise. But, as I read, drink, wait, and watch the surf Faithful, almost forgotten, your demand Becomes all others, and this loneliness The need that is your presence. In the dark, Beneath the lamp, attentive, like a sound I listen for, you draw near -- closer, surer Than speech, or sight, or love, or love returned. ---------------------------Edgar Bowers ______________________ Sunday Night in Santa Rosa The carnival is over. The high tents, the palaces of light, are folded flat and tucked away. A three-time loser yanks the Wheel of Fortune off the wall. Mice pick through the garbage by the popcorn stand. A drunken giant falls asleep beside the juggler, and the Dog-Faced Boy sneaks off to join the Serpent Lady for the night. Wind sweeps ticket stubs along the walk. The Dead Man loads his coffin on a truck. Off in a trailer by the parking lot the radio predicts tomorrow's weather while a clown stares in a dressing mirror, takes out a box, and peels away his face. ---------------------------Dana Gioia [in this Gioia poem are two lines with metrical anomalies. That is, they don't conform to the "rules" on iambic pentameter which I've been parroting over and over on this site. The first anomaly we've touched upon briefly. The other I've never seen and to me looks like a flaw, though not a terribly offensive one. In fact, it almost seems to work! Can you spot where the anomalies are? Are they metrical flaws or are they examples of exceptional handling by a master? Sound off.] Tony
  4. Badge has suggested I post a poem in the Workshop for the sake of scansion. The trouble is I have very little raw material. Do I even have any at all? I'll have to take a look. In the meantime, just take any of my completed poems -- the bulk of them are metrical -- and let 'er rip. I'll wait to see what's posted and then provide my own scansions. I'm not looking to revise these; as far as I'm concerned, they're done. This is just an exercise! (Hint: these are all in iambic pentameter.) _____________________ I get a little creative in the penultimate line of this poem. Let's see how you scan it: Gold Dust from a motherthousand wasted stars has dried their eyes, for it was a bold mix of cloud and sun in which our trippers swam; but the trick deck was stacked with eights against them; still, they railed it through a tunnel ram! And now, a signal from the outer fold declares just like an epigram of old: "There's only one way to fix it -- don't fix it," when she won't share, and he won't wear her gold. _____________________ I hoped to give this one a bit of the techno beat! Ukraina Hotel Fresh Federation snow on the hoods, trunks, and window glass of cars in a half-filled lot. Her legs, with the bass between and kick-drum on the beats, took me a long, hard way from Pravda. The inside of her Volvo was still warm. _____________________ Verd Mont Out of the blues into the browns and greens we're drifting inland, leaving coasts behind. With no mutability in its soil, the nutrients subsist. Even the toil is what it was. How many went to war ... I never represented I had answers; never did I say it. Barns remain. The shoreline, long gone from our rear view mirrors, has hazed away. Black flies give way to rain. ______________________ Aurora Glancing up through evergreens at stars, I sight a satellite. On course, it makes its way from now to then; there is no now for me. And all the skies we ever shared soon meld into a single streak of north. A hum, a flutter -- jade green curtains wave and ghost across the woods beyond the lake. ________________________ On this one, I could use some help. Check out L3. January Minus eleven. Drifts osmose the glare of the Wolf Moon. The windows are live coals of someone else's blaze. Under the oak, I think of eyes and hands. A windless chill. Smoke from her hearth hangs still in the plum sky. Is "someone else's" correct??? Spell check says no, but that's how we talk around here. I started to look online and was finding that "someone's else" might be the right way. If that were the case, it would obliterate my meter in that line. Not sure what I would do, rework the line or just leave it!
  5. One of our regular members, whose work has always been novel and a pleasure to read, has of late been producing some sonnets. Backchannel, Eclipse asks (re his recent "sonnet for Newcastle (practice)," "hi Tony does the meter scan in that sonnet?-Barry." Reproduced below is the text of my reply to him which he has graciously allowed me to share so that others also may (hopefully) benefit from the analysis. Eclipse wrote this sonnet in an hour. It usually takes me a lot longer than that to even formulate an idea (or ideas) for shorter poems. Then again, I'm pretty slow, lol.
  6. Iambic Pentameter

    The most common metric line in English poetry is iambic pentameter. A poem written in pure iambic pentameter (da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum) can create a sing songy effect yet a skilled writer can deliver the metric pattern without the poem sounding like a nursery rhyme. Here are some guidelines for composing iambic pentameters. The guidelines are generally accepted standards that I try to follow. Many people have the misconception that a line of iambic pentameter must contain exactly five iambs. While five iambs in a row certainly does make an iambic pentameter, iambic pentameters are not limited to this configuration. Various substitutions (of other metrical feet) may be used within lines of iambic pentameter, and the lines will still be considered iambic pentameters. The most basic iambic pentameter consists of five iambs in a row: I want to write some lines of formal verse / i WANT / to WRITE / some LINES / of FOR / mal VERSE / / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / Now, let's introduce some variation into this line. An unstressed syllable at the end of a line of iambic pentameter is known as a "feminine ending," or "hypermetrical": I want to write some lines in proper meter / i WANT / to WRITE / some LINES / in PRO / per ME / ter / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / ^ (The carat ^ designates the last syllable, or feminine ending.)The important thing to remember is that when writing a line with a feminine ending in rhymed poetry, the line that rhymes with it should also have a feminine ending: I want to write some lines in proper meter the way I once saw done by poet Peter / the WAY / i ONCE / saw DONE / by PO /et PET / er / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / ^ Now that we've looked at some basic iambic pentameters, let's consider some metrical feet that can be substituted for iambs within an iambic pentameter. I'll introduce some trochees into the iambic pentameters we looked at above. Trochees may be used anywhere within an iambic pentameter except in the last foot, which should be an iamb. Also, trochees (and other substitutions) must not outnumber the iambs within a line. This means that at least three of the feet in an iambic pentameter should be iambs: Wanting to write some lines of formal verse / WANting / to WRITE / some LINES / of FOR / mal VERSE / / trochee /iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / There's only one trochee in this line. I could have used two, and the line would still be an iambic pentameter. The next substitution is a pyrrhic, followed by a spondee. It counts as two iambs in the line, and it's called a "double iamb": It's all easy to do when you know how / it's ALL / EASy / to DO / when you / KNOW HOW / / iamb / trochee / iamb / {pyrrhic / Spondee} / As you can see, in the above line, I used the pyrrhic spondee combination which counts as two iambs. You can also see I threw a trochee into the mix, in foot two of the line. Yes, this combination of iamb-trochee-iamb-pyrrhic-spondee amounts to a strict iambic pentameter. Double iambs are okay anywhere in an iambic pentameter. Spondees are also okay anywhere in an iambic pentameter. The next often used metrical convention is known as a "headless iamb." When the first iamb of an iambic pentameter is missing its unstressed syllable, the line is said to contain a headless iamb. A headless iamb is okay in iambic pentameter, so long as the line contains no other substitutions. This means that the line must contain, in addition to the headless iamb, exactly four iambs -- Soon you'll write in meter like a pro / ^ SOON / you'll WRITE / in ME / ter LIKE / a PRO / / headless iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / (Again, the carat ^ designates a missing syllable, in this case, that of the headless iamb.) -- but the line could have been easily modified to omit the headless iamb by omitting the contraction: Soon you will write in meter like a pro / SOON you / will WRITE / in ME / ter LIKE / a PRO / / trochee / iamb / iamb / iamb / iamb / Either way is okay, with or without the headless iamb; both are considered iambic pentameters. I'll add that some people think a poem written in iambic pentameter should not start out with a line that contains a headless iamb. I myself don't think a headless iamb in the first line is a bad thing. The last thing I'll mention in this topic is the matter of anapests. Anapests, used sparingly, are acceptable in iambic pentameter. A poem that contains no anapests is considered "strict," whereas a poem containing some anapests is referred to as "loose." Here's one of the lines used above, modified slightly, to contain an anapest: Writing in meter's a cinch when you know how / WRIting / in ME / ter's a CINCH / {when you / KNOW HOW} / / trochee / iamb / anapest / {pyrrhic / spondee} / Notice, even with the trochee and the anapest, the line still conforms. The iambs (when the double iamb is taken into consideration) still outnumber the substitutions. Well, there you have it. Some basic guidelines for iambic pentameter. Poem with scansion explaining iambic pentameter AN ADDITIONAL NOTE: At no point in any iambic pentameter should there be three unstressed syllables in a row. Therefore, a combination like a trochee followed by an anapest is not possible.
  7. Urjuza or Urjuzah

    Explore the Craft of Writing Arabic Verse Urjuza is Arabic- Didactic verse using rajaz meter. The verse focuses more on the details of content leaving the poem "devoid of stylistic elegance and poetic beauty". I found this form at Vol Central. The elements of the Urjuza are: stanzaic, written in any number of couplets. metric, written in rajaz meter monorhymed or written in rhymed couplets. either aa aa aa etc or aa bb cc dd etc informative or instructional. *Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature Volume 2 page 646 Arabic Poetic Genres and Forms Ghazal Marisya Mukhammas Mussades Muwashsha Nazm Qasida Rubai Shair Sher & its Meters Soaz Urjuza Zajal
  8. Rap

    Explore the Craft of Writing American Poetry Rap is verse set to a beat and is usually written in musical bars even though the verse is spoken or chanted rather than sung to a melody. Some believe the term "rap" refers to "rapid rhyme" and Rap competitions encourage off the cuff, spontaneous composition. The rapid fire of words is a distinct element of the genre. Rap in the dictionary means "to hit" and that is exactly what Rap does, it hits the beat. Originating in the African American community, associated with hip-hop and a "gangsta" life style, it is the fastest growing, most popular verse of today. In researching the form, I found a video on line on How to Write Rap and was blown away watching a tatted rapper using street language to explain the nuances of rhyme as well if not better than any college professor. He explained the need to use compound words, complex rhyme schemes and slant rhyme to capture the audience. He set rap apart from simple verse. Rap isn't simple and it isn't just off the cuff. It is taken very seriously by those who write the lyrics and clearly someone has studied the basics of good composition and adapted it to what is happening in the streets now. The elements of Rap are: usually written in 12 to 16 bars which could be equated with "lines" podic with approximately 4 strong beats or stressed syllables and any number of unstressed or lesser stressed syllables. Rap usually is 4 strong beats to the bar and it is imperative the lyrics stay on the beat with the background music.Rhythm and flow are emphasized rhymed, rhyme is an intregal element of rap and compound rhyme, complex rhyme schemes, internal rhyme and slant rhyme are all encouraged. written in 3 verses or strophes of approximately 12 to 16 lines. These strophes are often different vignettes. an opener that grabs the audience, pulls them in and sets the stage, the subject explained and expanded upon. the conclusion, pulling it all together and ending with something to remember. sometimes written with a chorus of 6 to 8 bars or lines which is repeated between each strophe and acts like a bridge to the next verse. "pulled from emotion". P. Diddy (Puff Daddy) Neptunes Album: The Saga Continues... Song: Diddy Yeah.. it's Bad Boy baby (Yeah, c'mon) Neptunes (mm, mm, mm, mm, c'mon) And we won't stop (I like this right here) Cause we can't stop (yeah) Yeah, let me tell you somethin Yeah, check this out [Verse One] Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick I was on 1-2-5 and Saint Nick Chillin with this chick named Tondalea Was a hot girl and everybody wanted to slay her But she wasn't fond of players, only wanted ballers to spoil her with six figures and camcorders So what you tryin to tell me dear? I got Bently, Benson and Mr. Belverdere And I just want to blow your mind I'm talkin literally blow your mind My repetoire is menage-a-trois and exotic cars Chillin with the hottest stars And it ain't no stoppin this I can't help it I'm a optomist And I'ma make ya head bop to this And at the end you gon' rock to this Now say my name, c'mon [Chorus: Neptunes] D the I the D the D the Y, the D the I the D It's Diddy (Hold up!) It's Diddy (That shit's crazy!) The D the I the D the D the Y, the D the I the D It's Diddy (Hold up!) It's Diddy (Say whaaat?!) [Verse Two] Aiyyo, I came in the door, I said it before I never the ladies hypnotize me no more But.. but back to the manuscript Cause I don't think you can handle this From New York to Los Angeles I think the whole world scandalous I'm just tryin to keep the candles lit Let the party people dance to this Get out your seats and clap your hands to this Because I came too far for me to be bourgeoise It's a Bentley to you, to me it's a blue car So Branson pass me a jar Cause these cats done went too far Yeah one phone call send two cars And I still get searched by security guards (that's right) I guess that's what I have to do Take the game international, now what you call me? [Chorus] (La La La La La La La La La La La La) C'mon work it out girl I'm tryin to see you work it out girl (La La La La La La La La La La La La) C'mon work it out girl I wanna see you work it out girl [Verse Three] Now hold up, stop (stop) now wait a minute We don't stop we rock cause ain't a limit My aim is winnin, got Asian women that'll change my linen after I done blazed and hit 'em, but I just wanna rock wit you (that's right) And take it straight to the top with you And do what I gots to do, if it's possible Cause I ain't trying to stop you boo I, got an agenda, got on a Ninja One wheelin and killin it not to offend ya That's when I met this chick named Brenda Tender, her whole body bend like fender So let me see you shake it girl (c'mon) I just wanna see you shake it girl (c'mon) For the return of the Don, the world in my palm My moms calls me Sean but y'all call me [Chorus] (La La La La La La La La La La La) C'mon work it out girl I'm tryin to see you work it out girl (La La La La La La La La La La La) C'mon work it out girl I wanna see you work it out girl
  9. Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry English Verse It's about the rhythm. The following metric lines all seem to be attempts at deformalizing the line. Tumbling Verse is thought by some to have its roots in Anglo Saxon prosody, but the term was first used by King James VI of Scotland in the 16th century. It is all about the line. It was originally written in strophes of tumbling rhymed hemistich, lines. The accentual meter might be referred to as "loosely" anapestic. King James thought it suited to Flyting. The rough rhythm crossed over easily from verse to prose. The elements of Tumbling Verse are: written in any number of lines made up of 2 hemistiches. accentual, 4 strong stresses per line, 2 strong stresses in each hemistich with any number of unstressed syllables. rhymed, mono-rhymed until the rhyme loses energy then change to a new mono-rhyme series. Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie by Thomas Tusser (1527-1580) (ch. XIV, st. 5) Tide flowing is feared, for many a thing, Great danger to such as be sick, it doth bring; Sea ebb, by long ebbing, some respite doth give, And sendeth good comfort, to such as shall live. Skeltonic Verse which today is sometimes also referred to as Tumbling Verse, is from the 15th century when English poet John Skelton (1460-1529) created short lines which resemble the hemistich of the Tumbling Verse of King James which technically would make it a half Tumbling Verse. It is a subgenre of Georgic, didactic verse, the verse usually being instructional in nature. The lines are of irregular dipodic meter with a tumbling rhyme. The elements of Skeltonic Verse are: written in any number of dipodic lines without stanza break. dipodic which is a line with 2 heavy stresses and any number of unstressed syllables. rhymed, tumbling rhyme is any number of monorhymed lines until the rhyme runs out of energy then the lines switch to a new mono-rhyme series. The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng by John Skelton (L1-L11) Tell you I chyll, If that ye wyll A whyle be styll, of a comely gyll That dwelt on a hyll: But she is not gryll, For she is somewhat sage And well worne in age; for her visage It would aswage A mannes courage. Dipodic What? by Larry Eberhart Dipodic Verse it will be Terse. Stress used just twice to keep it nice, short or long a lilting song or sounding gong that won't go wrong if you adhere to the rule here, Now is that clear My dear? Sprung Rhythm is a term coined by English poet Gerald Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) for a "new" meter drawing on his knowledge of Welsh and Old English Verse such as King James' Tumbling Verse. Tennyson, Swinburne and some others had already experimented with strong stressed meters but Hopkins made a point of defending his experiment and theorizing its importance. A little later Coleridge appears to have used a similar cadence and called it Christabel Meter. The meter is designed to imitate natural speech. It often begins with a stressed syllable and is followed by variable unstressed and stressed syllables creating a line of mixed irregular feet similar to free verse. However unlike free verse, a poem written in sprung rhythm generally maintains lines with the same number of metric feet throughout. It is only the rhythm of the feet that supposedly changes. The following poem is an example of sprung rhythm, written in the genre of a List Poem or Catalogue Verse and in the verse form of a Curtal Sonnet. Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spáre, strange; Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?) With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím; He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change: Práise hím.
  10. I recently contacted an expert on meter at a well-known internet poetry workshop with a few questions that I had. He answered my questions and recommended that I get a book which is unquestionably the best work on the subject of meter available today. In other words, it's a contemporary standard. The book is by Timothy Steele, a professor of English at California State University in Los Angeles, and it's called "All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing -- an Explanation of Meter and Versification." (Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio, 1999) None of my local Borders or Barnes and Noble stores had the book in stock, but I did it order it through one of them (B&N), and my copy came yesterday. The book really is a fantastic treatise on the subject. It's 366 pages long, written in clear English that's easy to understand and not highfalutin. One of the questions I presented to the moderator at the workshop site concerned the scansion of line two in Philip Larkin's poem FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE ROYAL STATION HOTEL: Clusters of lights over empty chairs ... which I scanned as follows: CLUSters / of LIGHTS / ^O / ver EMP / ty CHAIRS / / trochee / iamb / headless iamb ?!? / iamb / iamb / My question went to the the third foot in the line. I knew that, generally, headless iambs can only occur at the beginnings of lines of iambic pentameter. Yet, if that was the case, then what was the peculiarity that appears in the Larkin line above? The question is answered in the book. Steele discusses the convention, starting on page 84, in a section called "6. Other variants: Divided Lines, Clipped Lines, Broken-Backed Lines, and Feminine Caesuras." Although Steele does not scan the line above, it appears that the omission of an unstressed syllable in that line does not amount to a headless iamb in the middle of the line. Rather, it's an example of a "broken-backed line." On the broken-backed line, Steele writes (on page 85) that, "Another Middle English variant is the unhappily named 'broken-backed' pentameter. Broken-backed pentameters lack a metrically unaccented syllable in the middle of the line. Generally, the missing syllable is the fifth (i.e., the line's third offbeat)." This is exactly the case in the Larkin line above! On page 87, Steele even states that Larkin uses this convention of the broken-backed line often and goes on to provide two more Larkin lines as examples. They are: /aNO / ther CHURCH / ^MAT / ting SEATS / and STONES / and i FELL / aSLEEP / ^WAK / ing AT / the FUMES / I look forward to learning much more from this book. I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to understand meter. Tony
  11. I submit five poems of Edgar Bowers for examination: THE ASTRONOMERS OF MONT BLANC EDGAR BOWERS (four more) These poems are all written in flawless iambic pentameter that is mostly strict (meaning, in addition to other accepted substitutions, they contain only the occasional anapest). Read each one out loud, but do not try to read them according to some preconceived notion of what iambic pentameter is or should be. Rather, read them naturally and trust that the meter is there. Notice how the musicality varies in each of the poems, how the language speeds up and slows down at various points as you read, the syncopation present in the various parts. This effect is produced by Bowers' expert handling of the language and meter. Metrical poems like these, in which the meter is flawless, sound natural when read out loud. A poem in which the meter is "off" in whole or in part will sound "off" in those parts in the same way a musical composition would sound off if a drummer were to veer off and alter its beat while the other musicians continued to play in the previously established time signature. This is not only the case with iambic pentameter. The same holds true for all metrical (accentual-syllabic) poetry. I'll submit something in a different meter to illustrate this later on if this topic takes off.
  12. Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Measuring the line Meter is the rhythmic measure of a line of verse. The emphasis being on the word measure. "Meter is so not rhythm, because rhythm is way beyond and above meter. (Metric) scansion is merely a way to begin to reveal just how the pleasing effect of sounds in speech is augmented by stress patterns.” Ikars Sarma “Think of meter as an underlying beat, a poem's regular beat, like the beat in a piece of music. Think of the variations (the substituted feet, choice of syntax, rhyme, etc.) as the music superimposed over that beat. The meter, the beat, is there; even with substituted feet, the underlying beat is there in the backdrop. The beat -- the regular rhythm -- must be there in metrical poems. While all poems have musicality (or should) metrical poems, unlike free verse, have regular rhythm. Free verse has rhythm, but not regular rhythm. The lines may be different lengths and line breaks, stanza breaks, natural cadences of the English language (which is primarily iambic, even if one reads prose), and other poetic devices make up the poem's musicality. Free verse does not have meter, a regular rhythm from line to line, and we don't scan it to analyze it's rhythm." Tõnis Veenpere It was the Greeks who were the first to measure and name poetic meters and in English we still refer to the various units of measure by their Greek names. There are different measures used in poetics. The four major measures in English are Accentual Verse, Syllabic Verse, Accentual Syllabic Verse and Quantitative Verse. Here is my simple understanding of the basics of meter. I also include an index for the various meters found in poetic cultures around the world. There are many more metric terms (rarely used and rarely understood) that I do not include here. The most popular metric line in the English language is the "iambic pentameter" line. One of the best explainations of the iambic pentameter line that I have ever read is right here at this site written by our own Tony Veenpere Iambic Pentameter. "I would sooner write free verse as play tennis with the net down." "There are only two meters "strict and loose iambic." Robert Frost METERS and PATTERNS accentual accentual syllabic anapest amphibrach amphimacer basit beit choriamb choree dactyl decameter dimeter dodecameter hazaj hexameter hendecameter heptameter iamb monometer mutagarib nonometer octameter pentameter pyrrhic or phirach quantitative rajaz Ramal spondee syllabic tawil tetrameter tribach trimeter trochee wafir Accentual Verse measures heavy stresses without any specific pattern and sometimes measures unstressed syllables, but not always. This is folk verse, it carries the rhythm of normal speech. It might be described as written with 4 stresses or 3 stresses and 4 unstressed syllables. Podic Verse is rhymed Accentual Verse. Syllabic Verse simply measures the line by number of syllables. A syllable is a unit of pronunciation uttered without interruption, It forms the whole or part of a word. Japanese poetry measures the line by onji which means "sound syllable" for which there is no true translation in English, therefore we are reduced to simply counting syllables as we understand them. The Chinese and some other Asian poetics include the measure of pitch or tone in their count. This is language specific and impossible to duplicate in English and again we are left with the syllable. Probably the accurate term for measurement, especially when emulating the Chinese forms, would be to count characters. Since most Chinese words written in characters are a single syllable. one way to equate the transition to English is to simply count syllables. Another way would be to recognize that a single syllable word in Chinese could translate into multi syllables in English and therefore converting character count to word count. I've seen it done both ways. Word count makes more sense to me. Accentual Syllabic Verse measures the line by dividing it into metric feet as well as counting syllables. Accentual Syllabic measures are made up of a combination of stressed and unstressed syllables. A book I have found very helpful in the understanding of meter, specifically Accentual Syllabic meter, is Rules for the Dance by Mary Oliver, 1998, ISBN 0-395-85086-x. Tony provides a wonderful explaination of how the patterns and metric measures fit together in this forum thread. Quantitative Verse also measures the line by dividing it into metric feet as well as counting syllables. However, Quantitative measures are made up of a combination of long and short vowel sounds. There was a failed attempt in 16th century England to emulate Greek meters using long and short vowel sounds by the Classists. But the English ear doesn't readily recognize the long and short sounds as easily as stressed and unstressed sounds. In English, quantitative verse is sometimes difficult to discern and we transition to Accentual Syllabic by default which warps the intent a bit. Or we will often attempt to reduce to the lowest common denominator and simply count syllables, still a little warped. Middle Eastern poetry often uses quantitative verse as a measure but then again, it is sometimes described in syllabic terms. Like the Asian languages, Middle Eastern prosody sometimes requires measure of other factors. Heavy or light sounds can become part of the equation. Of course in English it cannot be duplicated. It is all language specific but interesting to me how words are delivered in so many different ways. Both accentual syllabic and quantitative verse use the same metric terms to indicate number of feet and syllabic combinations. 1 metric foot = monometer 2 metric feet = dimeter 3 metric feet = trimeter 4 metric feet = tetrameter 5 metric feet = pentameter 6 metric feet = hexameter 7 metric feet = heptameter 8 metric feet = octameter 9 metric feet = nonometer 10 metric feet = decameter 11 metric feet = hendecameter 12 metric feet = dodecameter Accentual Syllabic Patterns u = unstressed syllable ---S = stressed syllable uSu = amphibrach = for-ev-er SuS= amphimacer = look and see uuS = anapest = through the night Suu = dactyl = hol-i-day SuuS = choriamb = light in the east uS = iamb = to-day SS = spondee = 2 heavy stresses night-mare Su = trochee or choree = Moth-er uu = pyrrhic or phirach = 2 unstressed syllables = of the uuu = tribrach = 3 unstressed syllables Try an excercise verse form to flex your metric muscles. Quantitative Verse Patterns To show an example of long and short sounds, would be like the long sound in book vs the short sound of buck. I know it is suptle but if you listen very carefully you can hear the longer and shorter vowel sounds. s = short syllable L = long syllable sLs = amphibrach = short syllable followed by a long syllable followed by a short syllable ssL = anapest = 2 short syllables followed by a long syllable Lss = dactyl =long syllable followed by 2 short syllables sL = iamb = short syllable followed by a long syllable LL = spondee = 2 long tresses Ls = trochee or choree = long syllable followed by short syllable ss = phirach = 2 short syllables sss = tribrach = 3 short syllables Now that I have thoroughly confused you, here are a couple of Links with more detailed examples on meter found at Poetry Free For All? Handy Dandy Vestpocket Guide to Iambic Pentameter by HowardW at PFFA Normative Meter, Two-Syllable Feet and Three-Syllable Feetby Howard Miller at PFFA
  13. Anapestic tetrameter

    Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse Anapestic tetrameter is a metric line of verse used most often for light verse or comic effect. Dr Suess is a master in the use of anapestic tetrameter. But it is not confined to light verse; it can be used in more serious work such as in Lord Byron's Don Juan. It is another meter originating in ancient GreeK Verse. As it name implies, it is a line of 4 sequential anapests. quantitative short/short/LONG = ssL/ssL/ssl/ssL or accentual syllabic unstessed unstressed STRESSED = uuS/uuS/uuS/uuS The anapest, sometimes called a reverse dactyl, it is in quatitative verse a combination of a 2 short vowel sounds followed by a long vowel sound (ssL), or in accentual syllablic verse it is 2 unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable (uuS). 'Twas the night / before Christ / mas, when all / thro' the house Not a creat /ure was stir / ring, not ev / en a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. nd mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer. With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name! "Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack. His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly! He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself! A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose! He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!" ---------------------------Clement Clark Moore's Night Before Christmas
  14. Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse Alcmanic verse is a metric line of dactylic tetrameter. It was named for the ancient Greek poet Alcman and was commonly used in early Greek verse. Quantitative verse Lss / Lss / Lss / Lss in English, accentual syllabic Suu / Suu / Suu / Suu Beatles' lyric from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Pict ure your / self in a / boat on a / riv er with tang er ine / tree ees and / mar mal ade / skis ii es The Alcmanian strophe can be found in some of Horace's work. This stanza form takes its name from the Greek meter but is associated with Latin works. It is a couplet made up of a heroic or dactylic hexameter followed by a dactylic tetrameter with a posteriore which is actually a 4 foot line made up of 3 dactyls followed by a spondee in the 4th foot. (Italian "a posteriore" rear, indicating the last metric foot changes) Suu / Suu / Suu / Suu / Suu / SS Suu / Suu / Suu / SS From Horace's Epode (even if you can't read Latin you may be able to hear the meter.) Quid tibi vis, mulier nigris dignissima barris? munera quid mihi quidve tabellas
  15. Alcaics

    Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse Alcaics "gives an impression of wonderful vigour and spontaneity". The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia. The stanzaic form is attributed to the poet Alceaus 6th century BC and is an Aeolic classic meter. The elements of the Alcaics stanzaic form are: stanzaic, any number of quatrains may be written. metric, quantitative verse. The first 3 lines are 5 metric feet and the last line, 4 metric feet with a specific combination of trochees and dactyls. There are variations on the rhythm of the Alcaics quatrain but the following (one source refers to it as the dactyl Alcaic quatrain) seems to me the most common as demonstrated in Alfred Lord Tennyson's Milton. (acephalous refers to the missing 1st syllable of an iambic foot) L1 & L2 acephalous iamb, 2 trochees and 2 dactyls; L3 acephalous iamb, 4 trochees; L4 2 dactyls 2 trochees in that order Quantitative Verse L-Ls-Ls-Lss-Lss L-Ls-Ls-Lss-Lss L-Ls-Ls-Ls-Ls Lss-Lss-Ls-Ls Milton Part I by Alfred Lord Tennyson 1891 O mighty-mouth'd inventor of harmonies, O skill'd to sing of Time or Eternity, God-gifted organ-voice of England, Milton, a name to resound for ages; Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel, Starr'd from Jehovah's gorgeous armories, Tower, as the deep-domed empyrean Rings to the roar of an angel onset-- Me rather all that bowery loneliness, The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring, And bloom profuse and cedar arches Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean, Where some refulgent sunset of India Streams o'er a rich ambrosial ocean isle, And crimson-hued the stately palm-woods Whisper in odorous heights of even.
  16. Choriambics Line

    Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse, the beginnings. Choriambics line is an unrhymed, 16 syllable line consisting of 2 trochees, iamb, trochee, iamb, trochee and 2 iambs in that order. Or you could say it was made up of a trochee, 3 choriambs and an iamb. Quantitative Verse Ls-Ls-sL-Ls-sL-Ls-sL-sL Ls-LssL-LssL-LssL-sL Children playing with dolls, girls being girls, getting prepared for life. Choriambics by Rupert Brooke Here the flame that was ash, shrine that was void, lost in the haunted wood, I have tended and loved, year upon year, I in the solitude Waiting, quiet and glad-eyed in the dark, knowing that once a gleam Glowed and went through the wood. Still I abode strong in a golden dream, Unrecaptured. For I, I that had faith, knew that a face would glance One day, white in the dim woods, and a voice call, and a radiance Fill the grove, and the fire suddenly leap . . . and, in the heart of it, End of laboring, you! Therefore I kept ready the altar, lit The flame, burning apart. Face of my dreams vainly in vision white Gleaming down to me, lo! hopeless I rise now. For about midnight Whispers grew through the wood suddenly, strange cries in the boughs above Grated, cries like a laugh. Silent and black then through the sacred grove Great birds flew, as a dream, troubling the leaves, passing at length. I knew Long expected and long loved, that afar, God of the dim wood, you Somewhere lay, as a child sleeping, a child suddenly reft from mirth, White and wonderful yet, white in your youth, stretched upon foreign earth, God, immortal and dead! Therefore I go; never to rest, or win Peace, and worship of you more, and the dumb wood and the shrine therein.
  17. Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse, the beginnings. Elegiac Couplet used by Homer is made up of Classical Hexameter line followed by a Classical Pentameter line. Although the Greeks sometimes used the couplet in epic poetry, the Romans commonly used the couplet in love poetry. It was said that Cupid stole a metric foot from the 2nd line and the couplet became known as the "meter of love". The Elegiac Couplet is a complete couplet, a contained thought within the two lines. The couplet can stand alone or can be written in a series of verse. The two immortals stepped briskly as wild doves, quivering, keen to defend the fighting men of Argos. from Homer's Iliad 189.896-'7, 8th century BC translation by Robert Fagels Princeton University 1997 with spondees LL-LL-LL-LL-Lss-LL Lss-Lss-LL-ssL-ssL with dactyls Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-LL Lss-Lss-LL-ssL-ssL Traveling through the mucked maze without knowledge of where to find true love, placing our trust without checks, balances, life on the edge. --- Judi Van Gorder Classical Hexameter line, sometimes known as the Classical Heroic line, is the first line of the Elegiac couplet. A 13 or 17 syllable line depending on whether it is written leading with spondees or dactyls. The measure is quantitative verse in 6 metric feet. The line can be written with either 4 spondees or dactyls, followed by a dactyl and a spondee in that order. with spondees . . . LL-LL-LL-LL-Lss-LL with dactyls . . . . Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-LL Traveling through the mucked maze without knowledge of where to find true love, Classical Pentameter line is the second line of the Elegiac couplet. A 14 syllable line in quantitative verse, 5 metric feet made up of 2 dactyls, followed by a spondee, and 2 anapests in that order. Lss-Lss-LL-ssL-ssL placing our trust without checks, balances, life on the edge.
  18. Paeon

    Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse, the beginnings. Paeon is a metric foot with one 1 long or stressed syllable and 3 short or unstressed syllables in any order. The metric foot "paeon" can be easily confused with "paean" which is an ode praising a person's life. Accentual Syllabic - Suuu or uSuu or uuSu or uuuS ---- Quantitative - Lsss or sLss or ssLs or sssL Heaven by Judi Van Gorder Emphasizing emeritus implications of Elysees.
  19. Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse, the beginnings. The Sapphic Stanza is classic Aeolic verse and attributed to the poetess Sappho 6 BC, Greece. Plato so admired her that he spoke of her not as lyricist or poet but called her the 10th Muse. Her poems spoke of relationships and were marked by emotion. In a male dominated era she schooled and mentored women artists on the island of Lesbos and her writing has often been equated with woman-love. "Rather than addressing the gods or recounting epic narratives such as those of Homer, Sappho's verses speak from one individual to another." NPOPP. Sappho's work has often been referred to as fragments, because only two of her poems have survived in whole with the vast majority of her work surviving in fragments either from neglect, natural disasters, or possible censorship. The elements of the Sapphic Stanza are: quantitative verse, measuring long / short vowels. In English we transition to metric measure of stress / unstressed syllables which warps the rhythm a bit but brings it into context the English ear can hear. L= long s = short stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains. This evolved to a quatrain during the Renaissance period from the ancient variable 3 to 4 line stanzas. The quatrain is made up of 3 Sapphic lines followed by an Adonic line which is usually written as a parallel to L3. Sapphic line = 11 syllables, trochaic with the central foot being a dactyl Adonic line = 5 syllables, a dactyl followed by a trochee (see below for more detail on these two components) The modern Sapphic scansion should look like this (Stressed or Long = L; unstressed or short = s ) Quantitative Verse (L=long syllable * s=short syllable) Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-Ls Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-Ls Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-Ls Lss-Ls with substituted spondee Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-LL Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-LL Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-LL Lss-Ls originally unrhymed, in the Middle Ages the stanza acquired rhyme, rhyme scheme abab. Because of the predominant use of trochee and dactyls the rhyme will generally be feminine or a 2 syllable rhyme with the last syllable unstressed. a Sappho fragment Sweet child, with garlands be thy tresses bound, Twine marjoram with woodbine, sprat with spray; The gods love those who come with chaplets crowned, From those ungarlanded they turn away --translated by A. C. Benson (1862 – 1925) (note this translation is in rhyme, which was added in the Middle Ages, the original Greek does not appear to be rhymed) I read, in the original Greek, Sappho calls the child by name (capitalized and speaks of Charities rather than using the word "gods"). The Lamp by Sara Teasdale f I can bear your love like a lamp before me, When I go down the long steep Road of Darkness, I shall not fear the everlasting shadows, Nor cry in terror. If I can find out God, then I shall find Him; If none can find Him, then I shall sleep soundly, Knowing how well on earth your love sufficed me, A lamp in darkness. Transformation by Judi Van Gorder Passion, lust, consumed our beginnings fully. When did Eros turn without warning, changing greed to love? It happened deceptively, tricking emotions. Sculptured Heart ~~jvg Here are fragments, shards to show bits of myself. Writing, I give glimpses into my bared heart, With each poem, I place a piece on shared shelf; life as displayed art. Adjustment ~~`jvg You choose to leave our home, our love, expecting things to be the same whenever you return. Time brings change. I am still here but, I’m growing we have much to learn. Babies Born Here ~~jvg She cleans houses for cash, pays rent and feeds her children, alone. Surrounding words are strange. Home transplanted. Opportunity deferred. Sacrifice for them. Empty Excuse ~~jvg Hollowed out Easter egg, emptiness man-made, poked a hole in the end and sucked the egg dry leaving a thin shelled brightly painted charade, fragile alibi. Adonic line is most often written as a parallel to a previous line. It is the last line of the Sapphic stanza. It is composed in 5 syllables, a dactyl followed by a trochee. It can also be found as a pattern for the refrain in song to honor Adonis, from which it derived its name. "death has come near me." last line of Like the gods . . . by Sappho 4th century BC edited by Richmond Lattimore Quantitative Verse Lss-Ls Meaningless prattle. ---jvg Sapphic line -Since the Renaissance period the Sapphic line has been recognized as being a 5 foot trochaic line with the central foot being a dactyl. Prior to the Renaissance period this 11 syllable trochaic pattern was known as the "lesser" Sapphic line and the Sapphic line was a combination of the lesser Sapphic line and an adonic line. After Renaissance Sapphic line Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-Ls : Passion, lust, consumed our beginnings fully. Prior to Renaissance Sapphic line Ls-Ls-Lss-Ls-Ls,- Lss Ls : greed to love? It happened deceptively, tricking emotions. Apparently, the technical terms of "lesser" Sapphic and Sapphic lines have been corrupted over time.} Sapphic Ode Sonnet is a contemporary invented sonnet form found at Poet's Collective. It uses iambic rather than the more common Sapphic trochaic pattern however the quatrains do use the 3 line tetrameter and 4th line dimeter of the Sapphic stanza. The elements of the Sapphic Ode Sonnet are: a quatorzain made up of 3 quatrains followed by a couplet. metric, iambic, L1-L3 of each quatrain, tetrameter, L4 of each quatrain is dimeter, the concluding couplet is tetrameter. rhymed, rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. pivot at the discretion of the poet.
  20. Best Left Behind

    Another experiment in meter... 12 lines of dactylic tetrameter... I cheated just a little. Best Left Behind Writing a story of love and its turbulent properties, takes me back farther than I'd like to go. It's true time has a way of distorting perspective and changing an incident totally void of propriety to an event of which some deem acceptable. You may have thought that this tome might be succulent bringing out secrets too juicy to verbalize, but--- telling embarrassing long buried, happenings only suffices to dredge up what's best left be- hind. With forgiveness a life can move forward and mercifully bring us to happiness here in the now. I propose that we leave it at that. ----------------------- -- Judi Van Gorder
  21. Trochee

    I found a site that has free poetry classes that gives quality one on one instruction in subjects such as meter, rhyme, syllabic verse, haiku and the use of refrains and figurative language. I am trying it out by taking the beginning classes in Meter and Refrains and now have added the beginning haiku class. It moves at your pace and although it begins with basics it never hurts to review if you are already accomplished in those subjects or if you are like me, I always start at the beginning and I always learn something new. There are also advanced courses in some of the subjects. I have gotten very helpful feed back from all three instructors so if anyone is interested in honing your skills you can go to All Poetry. Here is a poem I wrote for an assignment to write 10 lines in trochaic octameter. I wrote as an example of Czech -Fourteenth Century Traditional Couplets. Trochee Understand that writing metric feet times eight will spread trochaic lines so long, without some music words could look and sound archaic. Struggling all the day away, producing one more passing piece, forced to step from comfort zone and I don't have the expertise. Stretching, trying drills of merit. Why is it so hard when writing words with forward accents, backward to the normal pattern? Fighting instinct, placing faith in hearing senses, stressing left instead of right though lots of gerunds help the process. Ending rhyme ahead of running out of options, plotting plodding tempos ever ending lines on weak and falling sounds. Hopeful, here's my poem pending. . . . --------------------------------------- --- Judi Van Gorder
  22. Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry English Verse Dipodic Quatrain is a quatrain written in podic or folk meter with 2 stressed syllables per line. Podic Verse or folk meter is a measure of verse simply based on the number of heavily stressed syllables in a rhymed line. The number of unstressed syllables are not considered. It is a hold over from Alliterative verse of the Anglo Saxons but instead of the irregular strophic verse, stanzas and rhyme are employed, something learned from the Normans. The elements of the Dipodic Quatrain are: stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains. podic, written with 2 heavy stresses per line with no regard to the number of unstressed syllables. rhymed, rhyme scheme either abab cdcd etc. or aabb ccdd etc. Crisis by Judi Van Gorder Trouble is here folks out of work lost career no pork. Money tight rolling up sleeves taxes bite family cleaves.
  23. Christabel Meter

    Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry English Verse Christabel Meter is named for the famous poem Christabel by English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge written in 2 parts, Part I in 1797 and Part II in 1800. Three more parts were planned but the poem was never finished. In a time when iambic meter was the standard for English poetry, Coleridge was said to have stepped out of the box and threw in a slightly more interesting rhythm. Some say the poem Christabel was written in iambic tetrameter with some anapests thrown in, but Coleridge wrote in his preface that he was writing the poem in accentual verse not accentual syllabic verse. If you study the poem, you will find there are 4 strong stresses in each line regardless of the number of syllables or unstressed syllables. However the vast majority of lines in the poem could be scanned as iambic tetrameter with an occasional anapestic substitution. Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and others beat Coleridge to the punch crafting their work with similar metric variations, this can also be called sprung rhythm or the Tumbling Verse of the Scot King James VI. However you see it, writing lines with 4 strong stresses with an occasional variation in rhythm is what some call Christabel Meter. Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge opening strophe Tis the MID/dle of NIGHT / by the CAS/tle clock, And the OWLS / have aWAK/ened the CROW/ing COCK; Tu--whit !-- -- Tu--whoo ! And HARK, / aGAIN! / the CROW/ing COCK, HOW DROW/siLY / it CREW. As a side note, the poem Christabel is a narrative, a Gothic tale that has captured the imagination of some interested in the occult. The character Geraldine is thought by some to be demonically possessed others think her a vampire and others associate her with Lesbian love. The elements of the Christabel are: strophic. No set number of lines or regulated stanzas. metric, accentual verse with 4 strong stresses per line, (and some anapests thrown in). rhymed, the original poem is primarily composed in rhyming couplets(aa bb cc ….) but it occasionally breaks into alternating rhyme (ababcdcd…). Christabel Meter by Jan Haag is an unrhymed poem in Christabel meter, so obviously rhyme is the choice of the poet. Here is my attempt to write something using the rhythm of the first strophe of the poem. (which is probably the most unusual rhythm in the whole poem.) Black of the Moon by Judi Van Gorder At a time when most children are sleeping, when the face in its place on the moon is weeping there's a flap-flap of black bats unseen and terrible but for their peeping, Vampires drunk on the blood of rats.
  24. Explore the Craft of Writing Arabic Verse The sher is a "complete couplet". In Urdu the sher is a poem in itself and when the two lines are a lone composition not surrounded by other shers, it is called a Fard. When surrounded by other couplets it is a unit of the qasida or more importantly the ghazal, it is called a sher. Each sher should be able to stand alone including a volta or turn between the L1 and L2. L2 should bring a twist or surprise as a response or expansion of L1. The sher should require no other lines around it to be complete. The lines should be of equal length. A Qataa is a composition limited to 2 shers sharing 1 subject, a poem in 4 lines. The Beher is the rhythm or cadence of the sher. The beher has 19 optional patterns of quantitative metric measure which is language specific. Generally in English we simplify and abandon the metric feet and patterns altogether and consider only 3 options, short, medium and long lines depending on the length of the first line of the sher. But for those who want to stay as authentic as one can while writing Arabic verse in English, I have included a few of the metric measures of the beher. Most Arabic metric lines are approximately 16 to 24 syllables long, (Arabic poetry is not measured by syllables but approximate syllable count is helpful in English when trying to grasp the meters.) broken into 2 hemistiches with the exception of the rajaz which is a short or trimetric line (12 syllables). Arabic prosody measures the line in quantitative verse, measuring the long and short vowel sounds. This is very subtle to the English ear and we usually convert to stressed and unstressed syllables which somewhat warps the measure but is the closest equivalent. In addition, Arabic meter does not just measure long and short vowel sounds. It also measures whether or not a consonant is followed by a vowel. (Not that it makes any difference in English but I include the information to be as complete as possible.) Basit is 1 of the 19 behers, it is a compound measure, basit means ordinary or simple. It is measured in long and short vowel sounds. It is often written along side of another meter, the tawil. The Basit is 6 metric feet of 3rd epitrites/ amphimacer/ 3rd epitrites/amphimacer /3rd epitrites/ amphimacer. It is broken into hemistiches. L L s L / L s L / L L s L / * L s L / L L s L / L s L A Beit(Arabic -tent) a line of verse in 2 hemistiches or 2 half lines. It is thought to have originated with the Bedouins of the dessert. The line is a simile for a tent, the 2 halves are the double door of the tent, each written in 2, 3 or 4 metric feet, the lines measure 16 to 32 syllables. The feet are made up of long and short syllables. The Hazaj is a line of 6 metric feet of first epitrite paused midway by caesura sLLL /sLLL/ sLLL / * sLLL /sLLL/ sLLL / The Ramal is a line of 6 metric feet of second epitrites broken midway by caesura. LsLL / LsLL / LsLL * LsLL / LsLL/ LsLL The Mutagarib is a line of 8 metric feet of baccius paused midway by caesura .(24 syllables) sLL /sLL/ sLL /sLL / * sLL /sLL/ sLL /sLL / The Tawil is a line of 8 metric feet broken into 2 hemistiches and the pattern of the metric foot is baccius' alternating with 1st epitrites. (28 syllables) s L L / s L L L / s L L / s L L L / * s L L / s L L L / s L L / s L L L / The Rajaz is a line of 3 metric feet of 3rd epitrites. Described at Vol Central as the "the simple meter of an animal's footsteps, the rhythm of the camel". Vol also describes the meter as a line of 24 syllables divided into two hemistiches (which is a standard of most Arabic meters) however the NPEOPP indicates the rajaz is the exception to the standard and is not divided into hemistiches but is a short, trimetric line. LLsL / LLsL / LLsL ------- or DUM DUM di DUM / DUM DUM di DUM / DUM DUM di DUM The Wafir is a line of 6 metric feet of 3rd epitrites, paused midway by caesura. LLsL/ LLsL/ LLsL * LLsL/ LLsL/ LLsL / Arabic Poetic Genres and Forms Ghazal Marisya Mukhammas Mussades Muwashsha Nazm Qasida Rubai Shair Sher & its Meters Soaz Urjuza Zajal
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