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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry French Verse Free Verse - (from the French verse libre - free line or verse) is verse written without predetermined "rules" of rhyme or meter. It can be found as far back as the Bible. However in 19th century Europe, particularly in France a movement away from the "rules" of rhymed metered verse was given a name and spread throughout the poetic world. It could be a descendant of the 16th century Freie Verse. One of the earliest, popular poets to embrace free verse was the American poet, Walt Whitman, whose explosive, energetic Leaves of Grass seems to claim "free verse" "as a medium for the American character". (I read that last phrase somewhere but now can't pin down the source to give credit. Being a fan of Whitman, I totally agree.) "I am the poet of the body, And I am the poet of the soul. The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell are with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself . . . the latter I translate into a new tongue." - - - Walt Whitman, from Leave of Grass, Song of Myself #21 L415-L419, 1855, In free verse, the old "rules" are broken, the line itself becomes the only rule.The verse is strophic, not contained in uniform stanzas. It must breath, think and sound like the poet. The rhythm keeps time with the poet's own heart beat. To ignore its form is irresponsible. It may be more difficult to create a line of free verse than metered verse, the length, word choice and placement become an extension of the poet even more without the "rule" of predetermined patterns. With free verse it is up to the poet to create his/her own rules. Freedom by Judi Van Gorder On the coastal cliffs shaded gray, I look out to a blackened sea. A spiny strata fragments under foot and a jolting descent begins. Needle pricks of stinging wind press upward into chest, throat and face, sour bile rises like black tar boiling from the belly. fall or fly. . .
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry Latin Verse Liturgical Verse Dirge (from Latin-dirige-direct), is the first word of the first antiphon of the Office of the Dead. It is a funeral march, a song of mourning sung at a funeral, a slow lamentation, an elegy. The structure is usually formal, stanzaic, metric and rhymed at the discretion of the poet. Dies Irae Day of Wrath (1st 5 stanzas) translation found at Wikipedia. It is a 13th century Latin hymn by Thomas of Celano This poem is written In mono-rhymed triplets with trochaic tetrameter lines. Day of wrath! O day of mourning! See fulfilled the prophets' warning, Heaven and earth in ashes burning! Oh, what fear man's bosom rendeth, when from heaven the Judge descendeth, on whose sentence all dependeth. Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth; through earth's sepulchers it ringeth; all before the throne it bringeth. Death is struck, and nature quaking, all creation is awaking, to its Judge an answer making. Lo! the book, exactly worded, wherein all hath been recorded: thence shall judgment be awarded. And here is a more secular version of a dirge, written on the occasion of Abraham Lincoln's death by Walt Whitman written in 3 octaves made up of 2 quatrains each, the first quatrain of longer lines of 8 to 15 syllables and the 2nd quatrain with shorter lines of 5 to 7 syllables, rhyme scheme aabbxcxc ddeexcxc ffggxcxc, with repetition of phrases. Oh Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I, with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
Explore the Craft of Writing Greek Verse Latin Verse An Elegy, (from Greek -elegeia "song of mourning") Obsequy ("funeral" from Latin to "follow out") or Threnody (from Greek "to sing a dirge") are basically different names for a genre of poetry that focuses on the sorrow of something ending and is a sad and plaintive poem. The elegy dates back to 7th century B.C. Greece and is written as a sustained, formal, ode. The subject is most often the occasion of a death or a solemn event, it is a lament or funeral song. There was a period in Rome in the 1st century B.C. when an elegy was a love poem, love chased death away. Latin influenced elegiac love poems are found in France in the 16th century A.D. But by the 17th century the elegy and death were reunited in English, German and French verse. The elegy originally used elegiac meter which has a melancholy rhythm, however the verse is not necessarily written in couplets. The frame of the modern elegy is written at the poet's discretion although elegiac stanzas in iambic pentameter quatrains with cross rhyme are still commonly used. A modern day elegy, President George H.W. Bush 1924-2018 When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd by Walt Whitman (1st 2 sections) from Memories of President Lincoln 1 When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed, And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night, I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring, Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west, And thought of him I love. 2 O powerful western fallen star! O shades of night -- O moody, tearful night! O great star disappear'd -- O the black murk that hides the star! O cruel hands that hold me powerless -- O helpless soul of me! O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul. Monody (Greek "singing alone") An elegy meant to be sung by a single mourner. A genre of usually short verse that laments a death with the frame, meter, and rhyme at the discretion of poet. Monody by Herman Melville To have known him, to have loved him After loneness long; And then to be estranged in life, And neither in the wrong; And now for death to set his seal— Ease me, a little ease, my song! By wintry hills his hermit-mound The sheeted snow-drifts drape, And houseless there the snow-bird flits Beneath the fir-trees’ crape: Glazed now with ice the cloistral vine That hid the shyest grape.