Hello. This is Frank Hubeny. The topic for Meeting the Bar is iambic pentameter. It is a rhythm or meter of poetry with lines having five “feet” each foot generally starting with an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable.
Here is an example from Alexander Pope where I put in bold, uppercase and yellow the accented words:
To ERR is HU-man; TO for-GIVE di-VINE.
The way I would normally say that line, I probably would not accent the second “to” as much as the other accented words, but still the “da DUM” rhythm sounds clear and makes for a nice sounding quote. This goes to show even one line of iambic pentameter can be memorable.
Sonnets are often in iambic pentameter. Here is Edna St. Vincent Millay reciting five of her sonnets: (Channel: CurzonRoad)
Even when I don’t understand the words, the iambic meter holds my attention and makes me wonder if I should listen to it again.
Wikipedia notes something that I found unexpected although obvious now that I think about it: “A healthy human heartbeat follows the iambic pentameter, with each pair of beats resembling an iambic foot.” I certainly wouldn’t expect my heart to have any different rhythm than an iambic meter whatever the line length, pentameter (5 feet per line) or tetrameter (4 feet per line) or trimeter (three feet per line).
It is nice to think that using an iambic rhythm is following one’s heart beat.
The challenge today is to write lines of iambic pentameter, lines with five iambic feet. They do not have to rhyme. They do not have to have exactly 10 syllables per line. They do not have to be perfectly iambic in rhythm allowing some variety. The poem can be a named form like a couplet or a Chaucerian stanza or a sonnet or it may be blank verse of only one line or many. For length, let’s restrict them to 14 lines or shorter, allowing for a sonnet.
To participate post your poem on your blog and copy the link to your blog post. Paste that link into the Mister Linky below. You will find other poets there who have also linked their poems. We get to know each other by reading and commenting on these shared poems. The Mister Linky will be open for 2 days.