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Mistress Bradstreet Stanza


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American Verse

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza is a stanzaic verse attributed to American poet John Berryman (1914-1972) patterned after the frame of his 57 stanza poem Homage to Mistress Bradstreet which he said was developed after a life time of studying Yeats.

The defining features of the Mistress Bradstreet Stanza are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of octaves.
  2. accentual verse, composed with 5-5-3-4-5-5-3-6 stresses per line.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme abcbddba, the a and d rhymes are a constant although occasionally the rhyme changes to abcbddca.

    Homage to Mistress Bradstreet by John Berryman (1st 3 stanzas)

    The Governor your husband lived so long
    moved you not, restless, waiting for him? Still,
    you were a patient woman.
    I seem to see you pause here still:
    Sylvester, Quarles, in moments odd you pored
    before a fire at, bright eyes on the Lord,
    all the children still.
    'Simon ...' Simon will listen while you read a Song.

    Outside the New World winters in grand dark
    white air lashing high thro' the virgin stands
    foxes down foxholes sigh,
    surely the English heart quails, stunned.
    I doubt if Simon than this blast, that sea,
    spares from his rigor for your poetry
    more. We are on each other's hands
    who care. Both of our worlds unhanded us. Lie stark,

    thy eyes look to me mild. Out of maize & air
    your body's made, and moves. I summon, see,
    from the centuries it.
    I think you won't stay. How do we
    linger, diminished, in our lovers' air,
    implausibly visible, to whom, a year,
    years, over interims; or not;
    to a long stranger; or not; shimmer & disappear.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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