120spacer.gif (56 bytes) Technical Poetry Morsels

Now, to some technical morsels about poetry.

Metre is the pulse of the words as the lines are said. It seldom varies in a poem. Each metre is found by counting the number of stressed syllables in a line. Metre is measured in feet (this is not really a math class!) They are designated as follows:

monometre = one foot (one stressed syllable per line)

dimetre = two feet / line

trimetre = three feet / line

tetrametre = four feet / line

pentametre = five feet / line

hexametre = six feet / line

heptametre = seven feet / line

octametre = eight feet / line

To go with this, there are terms to talk about the shape of the foot consistently used. These are:

Iambic -  (each stressed syllable is preceeded by an unstressed one.
(Eg. tonight, receive, confess)

Trochaic -  (each stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed one.
(Eg. simply, daily, poorly)

Anapestic -  (each stressed syllable is preceeded by two unstressed ones.
(Eg. intercept, saboteur)

Dactylic (each stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed ones.
(Eg. animal, capable)

Rhyme scheme refers to the pattern of sounds at the ends of lines of poetry. The lines can be labelled, using letters of the alphabet, and convention states that the first line is "a".

Look at the poem "Come Live With Me And Be My Love", below, and you will find that the rhyme scheme is aabb ccdd eeff ggaa. Throughout the poem the lines are rhyming couplets, two couplets to a stanza, and the last two lines rhyme with the first two, so there is a repetition of the "a" sound, because the last two lines rhyme with the first two.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
that valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
by shallow rivers, to whose falls
melodious birds sing madrigals.
A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair-lines slippers for the cold,
With buckles of purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

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