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Passions in Poetry

Pyrrhic What?!

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AlCowie
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since 05-13-2011
Posts 90
London, UK


0 posted 05-25-2011 07:53 AM       View Profile for AlCowie   Email AlCowie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit AlCowie's Home Page   View IP for AlCowie

I've been given an exercise to write a number of lines of iambic pentameters - using:

pyrrhic substitutions,
trochaic substitutions, and
weak endings

I'm not convinced I fully understand what I am doing, so I thought I'd post here to allow others to join in the exercise and comment on the results.

Here goes!

The moths are eating all my woolly jumpers
They've already destroyed my favourite two
Munching holes that'll make them that much plumper
Like tiny flying cows, their cud to chew.

My clothing is the picnic where they mate
Champagne and strawberries, cream on top, divine
With gusto they spread the blanket on the plate
And raise to their lips a woolly glass of wine

But I've nice clothing so that I get some
Holier clothing doesn't work as well
Making me look as if I'm from a slum
A scruffy bit of rough, no pipistrell.

For some bizarre reason the ladies desire tidy
(Although they like a bit of rough sometimes!)
Though my credentials are quite bonafide
The holes contradict and they hear as the bell chimes

So I've to springclean, open all my drawers
Pull everything out, give it a good shake
Extinct all the moths, kill them, this is war!
Moth Spanish Armada? I'm Sir Francis Drake!

I can draw it out in "d'Dums", but trying to work out which of each of these is which is the real test! Let's see.
AlCowie
Member
since 05-13-2011
Posts 90
London, UK


1 posted 05-25-2011 07:54 AM       View Profile for AlCowie   Email AlCowie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit AlCowie's Home Page   View IP for AlCowie

So, I think what I've done is the below, but not sure which is pyrrhic or trochaic (weak endings I get)

d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'
Dum d'Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
Dum d'Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'
d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum

d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum

d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum

d'Dum d'd'Dum d'd'Dum d'd'Dum Dum d'
d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'
d'Dum d'd'Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum

d'Dum d'd'Dum Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'd'Dum Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'd'Dum Dum d'Dum d'Dum
d'Dum d'd'Dum d'Dum d'Dum d'Dum
Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


2 posted 05-25-2011 09:04 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I'll check it when I get time, Al. I've never been a fan of Pyrric and think it is an invalid form. Take a pyrric followed by a long syllable and you have an anapest. Plus, having a completely unaccented foot makes little sense. I think Poe said it best, and he was the greatest master of form in history...

"The pyrrhic is rightfully dismissed. Its existence in either ancient or modern rhythm is purely chimerical, and the insisting on so perplexing a nonentity as a foot of two short syllables, affords, perhaps, the best evidence of the gross irrationality and subservience to authority which characterise our Prosody."
AlCowie
Member
since 05-13-2011
Posts 90
London, UK


3 posted 05-25-2011 11:40 AM       View Profile for AlCowie   Email AlCowie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit AlCowie's Home Page   View IP for AlCowie

Thanks Balladeer.

I've doing exercises from an audiobook, so it is tricky to see exactly what is meant, whilst my "Poet's Manual and Rhyming Dictionary" (Frances Stillman) says the pyrrhic is a foreign form.

In effect, are you saying that there is no difference between a pyrrhic and an anapest or just the a pyrrhic can be described in other ways that make more sense?

Ignorance makes a man ask basic questions!
Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


4 posted 05-25-2011 04:14 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, it's whatever you want, almost. FOllow it with an accented syllable and call it an anapest. Precede it by an accented syllable and you can call it a dactyl. By itself, it's basically nothing. A foot needs an accent somewhere. Pyrrics have none.

I live on a hill near the lake.

What do we have here? We have...

i LIVE on a HILL near the LAKE.

iamb+anapest+anapest

        or

iamb+pyrric+dactyl+catalectic

so why bother? That's Poe's point and I agree.
Dr.Moose1
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since 09-05-99
Posts 3505
Bewilderment , USA


5 posted 05-26-2011 06:46 AM       View Profile for Dr.Moose1   Email Dr.Moose1   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dr.Moose1

A foot by any other name? Ok, that was lame, but I'm enjoying the exercise.
Doc
Balladeer
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6 posted 05-26-2011 07:36 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You have a lame foot, doc?? Sorry to hear it.
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