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Thread: Poetic meter?

  1. #1
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    Poetic meter?

    Hello, I apologise if this is the wrong place to post but I am after a little advice I have written two poems and would like to have any advice on meter, it does'nt matter how much I try I cannot seem to fathom the syllabules, pattern and deciphering and would like to know what people think, thank you so much.

    Poem 1

    The piquant man proudly displaying a phalanx of medals,
    Straight green line of death.
    The tipsy gent with obscure stovepipe hat, conceited, demanding
    “I pay my taxes!”
    The young cadaverous cadet, leg contorted like an old oak tree.
    The accident, a car wrecked and smashed, the victim a chauffeur.
    There lays the cap, surrounded by glinting shards
    Sparkling splinters
    Splinters from the same glass mould of humanity
    Splinters that must hold together, repair mend and fix
    Fourteen-hour day, the longest shift.
    My carriage, their carriage, siren screeching like a banshee
    Speeding through night, to fix another splinter
    Save another life.


    Poem 2

    On the corner of the busy London street
    sits a dishevelled man
    cap by his feet.
    The sign
    all tattered, reads
    "Help me I'm poor"
    propped up by a bundle of paper on the floor.
    A sleeping bag rolled up
    keeps out the cold
    but, the elements have him
    he is tired and old.
    Does he feel resentment?
    Anger?
    and rage?
    In his life,
    what happened?
    What was written on the page?
    He sits in silence,
    watches the world go by
    his lack of emotion,
    no fight,
    makes you want to cry.
    Has he no drive?
    Clean up
    Man up
    live, not survive!
    We all walk past
    lower our heads
    is it not better to acknowledge instead?
    This city,
    the Capital,
    let this happen today.
    What if I told you he was a soldier yesterday?
    Fought for this country,
    Mine and yours too
    Fought for what was right
    Fought for what was true
    Now left desolate
    Washed up and used
    begging for a life, from me and you too.

  2. #2
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I wasn't able to read any metrical pattern in your poems based on how I would pronounce the words. Find the accented syllables and try to write a natural sentence where the accented and unaccented syllables form a pattern. For example, here are the first two lines:

    the PI-quant MAN PROUD-ly dis-PLAY-ing a PHA-lanx of ME-dals,
    STRAIGHT green LINE of DEATH.

    I split the syllables with a hyphen and capitalized the accented syllables.

    To get an iambic meter (think common meter) you would need to (most of the time) alternate unaccented with accented syllables. In anapestic meter (think limerick) there are two unaccented syllables followed by an accented one. There are other meters, but these are the two that I prefer using.

    The first problem with those two lines is they have no verb. Not having a natural sentence distracts the reader. Perhaps instead of "displaying" you used "displayed". Meter works more easily if there is a content the reader can focus on while the sound of the meter helps the text flow. Here is one way to make this a more uniform iambic pattern:

    the MAN dis-PLAYED his ME-dals
    LIN-ing UP for DEATH

    Note how an unaccented syllable is followed by an accented syllable. I also took out words I don't understand like "piquant", "phalanx", "straight green". Not using words that make immediate sense distracts the reader from the message.

    The message of the poem is primary. Don't let any poetic device get in the way of the message. Everything, whether that be grammar, meter or rhyme, serves the message. When you get to rhyme, you want to make sure that the rhyme is not "forced". In other words don't just look for any word that rhymes. Rhyme is like a break which the reader will expect to repeat just like the pattern of unaccented-accented syllables.

  3. #3
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    I could not say it better myself. Scansion is a challenge to some. Reviewing sonnets may provide an ear to say.

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