Hello all, Björn here from a April weather place.
I think it has been a while since we went back to the meter and feet of poetry. Most of us know that sonnet should be iambic pentameter. This means that the feet should be iambs, and we have five stressed syllables (and five unstressed syllables).
It will sound like da-DAM-da-DAM-da-DAM-da-DAM-da-DAM and can sometimes be a bit monotonous, but also very calm like when you are walking.
Today we are not going to do pentameter, we are going for tetrameter — and anapests.
And we are not going to walk like adults, we shall hopscotch like children in spring, doing anapests, which means that we have two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed. da-da-DAM. You probably recognize this feet from well written limericks.
Anapestic Tetrameter means that we have four stressed syllables on each line (so each line has twelve syllables). Iis a form mastered by dr. Seuss.
Like this from the “The Cat in the Hat”
“The Sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.”
Note that he has broken up the 12 syllables in two lines, and he also excluded the first unstressed syllables. The excluded first unstressed syllables is a great trick to break the sing-song monotony, and the extra line-breaks disguise the form that his end-rhymes (play-day) exposes.
I have had big problems writing in the past, but I have done a few efforts so we will have to see how it goes.
This is a poem about the serial killer Jolly Jane I wrote a while ago:
Oh the sweethearts (my patients) I helped in their dying
when so gently with morphine I pushed them while crying
with joy and seduction, they praised how I nursed them
and I could continue to poison the daughters and mums.
I was said to be jolly. a nickname reflecting my pleasure
the process to slaughter with nursing, to kill in my leisure.
I loved to watch when they almost were dying and free
them a while just pretending, before they followed my plea.
In the end I was smiling at court and declared to be mad
and now I have aged like none of my patients, I’m glad.
forever I’m Jane, the jolliest nurse who murdered for fun
among serial killers I survived much better than men.
Which also shows that the form is good for writing narrative poetry. In the case the lighthearted form contrasts with the somber subject in a quite interesting way…
Note that I have also used a few feminine endings where I have added an unstressed syllable in the end (pleasure and leisure) which also breaks up the rhythm a bit.
The form has also been used for many poems without any humor at all.
Take for instance these lines from Eminem’s “The way I am”
“I sit back with this pack of Zig-Zags and this bag
Of this weed, it gives me the shit needed to be
The most meanest MC on this on this Earth
And since birth I’ve been cursed with this curse to just curse”
Perfect anapestic tetrameter.
So today I would like you to try your hands at this form, you can do it with rhymes or without. You can break up your 12 syllable lines, and add little flaws. It can be funny or stark, but listen to the hopscotch rhythm and after a while you’ll be hooked.
When you have written a poem on your blog, please link up below, linking back to dVerse on your blog. Visit and comment on all the talented visitors we have on the linkup.