Cape Cod Massachusetts USA
All righty, guys - You know I can't stay away from this one.....
(All of my wonderful free-verse friends - block your ears - um....eyes!!)
Poetic meter is not just a matter of syllable count - A poem that is written with a rhyme scheme, but still sounds "forced" is most likely not in proper meter - Conversely, a poem that "sings" to you will most likely be written with both intact - "rhyme and meter"
So, how to assess your meter? Here's a brief synopsis:
There are two elements to proper meter - the number of "feet" per line, and the pattern of stressed syllables (ergo the syllable count thingy).
Let's start with the pattern of stressed syllables - It's much more than just counting to make sure you have an equal number on each line. The patterns are?
...iambic - (short/long) - (e.g. - re-PLY')
...trochaic - (long/short) - (e.g. - REA'-son)
...anapestic - (short/short/long) - (e.g. - in-ter-FERE')
...dactylic - (long/short/short) - (e.g. - SYL'-la-ble)
...spondaic - (long/long) - (e.g. - HEART'BEAT')
...pyrrhic - (short/short) - (e.g. - darned if I know, this one's tough)
So, combine a rhythm of iambic, trochaic, or the like - with a specified number of "feet" (repetitions of stressed pattern) and you have a poetic rhapsody.
....One foot per line - (e.g. - "Be-HOLD!" - iambic monometer)
....Two feet per line - (e.g. - "Re-FLEC-tions FOUND" - iambic dimeter)
....Three feet per line - (e.g. - "Yes, it AL-ways takes TWO side by SIDE" -
....Four feet per line - (e.g. - "TWIN-kle, TWIN-kle, LIT-tle STAR" - trochaic tetrameter)
......one syllable shy - btw -
....Five feet per line - (e.g. - "Our VI-sion NOW be-STOWS the BLIND with SIGHT" -
......iambic pentameter) This format is used for any properly written sonnet
......(along with a specified rhyme scheme in 14 line format)
...hexameter = six feet
...heptameter = seven feet
...octameter = eight feet......
So, my dear friends... if that isn't sufficient, hang around and we'll get into the use of imagery.. and you free versers had better listen on that one!!!!!!!
Nuff said - Go away now, Nance......
[This message has been edited by Nan (edited 08-20-99).]