Poetry Corner – Totally, Poetically Sound

Hello Dear Ones!

Recently I read a wonderfully crazy poem  – a love poem – beautifully crafted and very unique. WoW! I’ve seen poems with weird rhyming patterns, but this one has to take the first prize on the bizarre scale. (This great poem is inset at the end of this post for your enjoyment and perusal.)

With a verbal reading of any poem, the sound of it is essential to add impact, flavour, and mood, plus it enhances the writer’s intent. Most often odd yet rhyming patterns are found in children’s poetry, such as that written by the famous Dr. Seuss. Born Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss used specific rhyming techniques to get the sounds he was seeking: such styles as anapestic, amphibractic, or trochaic tetrameter. These fancy terms certainly required that I research their definition and effect (not to mention their pronunciation!). Here’s the simple and fun version from Wikipedia:

Poetic meters

Geisel wrote most of his books in anapestic tetrameter, a poetic meter employed by many poets of the English literary canon. This characteristic style of writing, which draws and pulls the reader into the text, is often suggested as one of the reasons that Geisel’s writing was so well-received.

Anapestic tetrameter consists of four rhythmic units, anapests, each composed of two weak beats followed by one strong beat; often, the first weak syllable is omitted, or an additional weak syllable is added at the end. An example of this meter can be found in Geisel’s “Yertle the Turtle”, from Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories:

“And today the Great Yertle, that Marvelous he
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.”

Some books by Geisel that are written mainly in anapestic tetrameter also contain many lines written in amphibrachic tetrameter, such as these from If I Ran the Circus:

“All ready to put up the tents for my circus.
I think I will call it the Circus McGurkus.
“And NOW comes an act of Enormous Enormance!
No former performer’s performed this performance!”

Geisel also wrote verse in trochaic tetrameter, an arrangement of a strong beat followed by a weak beat, with four units per line (for example, the title of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish). The formula for trochaic meter permits the final weak position in the line to be omitted, which facilitates the construction of rhymes.

Dr. Seuss rhymes and poetry are such fun to read and absolutely must be shared out loud. As a grandmother, I delight in reading any and all of the Dr. Seuss stories/poems with and to my grandchildren!

After the fun of Seuss’ poetry, this poem by Alastair Reid that caught my attention and that spoke to me, through its sound as well as its structure and intent, is going to seem tame by comparison.  Hopefully the beauty, the love and the playfulness I saw in it will appeal to you as well!

Technically, it is done as a tercet: three-line stanzas in which all three lines rhyme. Yes, a strange form of rhyme – with only one sound the ‘y‘ (‘ee‘) sound consistent throughout, not only at the end of each line as expected, but also raggedly interspersed through the entire piece as well:

At First Sight

Should I speak unthinkingly,
rashly, outwardly,
or look, wordlessly?

Move determinedly
or wait expectantly?
She sighs slightly.

I turn anxiously.
She sits quietly,
smiling distantly.

Either lie, passionately,
or not lie, fruitlessly?
I pause, two-mindedly.

To love wishfully,
blindly, entirely,

or to stay truthfully
in doubt, wistfully
doomed to reality?

Her face, held beautifully,
looks at me questioningly,
I watch her wonderingly.

To love recklessly,
hazarding certainty,
losing identity;

or to feel warily –
vows made conditionally,
words weighed carefully?

She looks up suddenly,
her eyes speaking clearly
my thought, completely.

Poised unbelievably,
we touch magically,
and light strikes, blindingly.

Alastair Reid

May you create the most magically marvelous day and a playfully profound week for yourself, naturally!

In Light and Laughter,


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