Playing With My Feet
I tried to help a friend to understand the other day,
The many forms of poetry, with which I like to play;
I have my favorites, true enough
the one I'm writing in
Is often how I choose to play, and so I shall begin.
Yes, I myself, am partial to - da DUM da DUM da DUM,
I like the soft, then hard of the Iambic's gentle drum;
I often stick to seven feet (that's fourteen taps a line),
Heptameter, they call it, and I think it's rather fine.
It seems to lead a story with it's gentle, rhythmic hold,
Enough da DUM's to tell the tale, and let it all unfold;
A ballad tends to lend itself quite well to this, you'll find,
Iambic, plus Heptameter
it is my favorite kind.
Iambic has two syllables, the stress upon the last,
It goes da DUM da DUM da DUM - from there, the dye is cast;
Trochaic has two syllables, but flips it's beat around;
Its DUM da DUM da, sets a very different tone and sound.
Another form's Dactylic, with three syllables in kind,
The stress is on the first of three
it's trying on the mind;
Now Anapestic, it has three, with stress upon the third,
A little harder, some might say
at least that's what I've heard.
Together with the pattern that you choose to stress above,
Comes tapping of the feet per line
it's meter that I love;
Each grouping of your pattern, sets a rhythm to your feet,
Just tap it out through every line
The numbers in your meter have some very silly names,
But if each line repeats itself, you won't go down in flames;
There's Monometer (one foot line), and Dimeter (that's two),
Try Trimeter (a three foot line), there's many you can do.
Tetrameter (a four foot line) is one I like to use,
Pentameter is popular (a five foot line) to choose;
Hexameter (a six foot line) is more obscure to me,
Heptameter's my favorite though (with seven feet you see).
Of course, there's still Octometer (with eight feet in a line),
A little longer, but it's still a meter that is fine;
That's just the basics for a start, the key is in "repeat"
Just choose a pattern, count it out, and tap it with your feet.
Still keeping with Iambic's trait,
I've changed again
You'll notice my da DUM's are here,
Though now I have less feet, I fear.
Tetrameter, I think is nice,
Four feet (eight beats) my other vice,
When paired with the Iambic hum,
A gentler side of me, will come.
I find my thoughts are more concise,
Less words to ramble, yet entice,
Oh yes, I love this form for sure
Iambic, plus Tetrameter.
Da da DUM, I can try, da da DUM,
Change the stress and hope words will still come,
Anapestic is something I find,
That is hard for this feeble, old mind.
Yet I try, and I try, just the same,
For these formats are just a nice game,
Using Trimeter helps, though I've found,
Only three feet to tap on the ground.
Wait! Let's try another sample,
Change the stress, the meter's ample
With Trochaic, you can change it,
Pair Tetrameter to pace it.
Oh! The joy, to change your cadence,
Let me give you this, for instance.
Four feet in these lines, I'm counting,
Can you see the fun is mounting?
Well IF you've followed all above, you'll think I've lost my mind,
You'll see that I have switched again, back to my favorite kind;
Iambic's how I like to go
Heptameter's for me,
It's simply how I like to write
it sets my spirit free.
If you da DUM, or DUM da too, or even da da DUM,
Just keep your meter repetitious
count your feet, each one;
Exaggerate your words aloud to see if they will flow,
(Just do it in a room alone so others will not know!)
I hope you had some fun with these
I did, I will confess,
It's great to try a different meter and a different stress
The key is in the repetition, hold to it throughout,
Or you will lose your readers (like I do sometimes, no doubt!)
[This message has been edited by Kit McCallum (06-02-2002 12:51 PM).]