Poetic Rhythm


Rhythm! Rhythm! is the essence
Of the poet's mythic presence!

Rolling and turning, in cadences riveting,
Dactyl-drawn chariot rides into glory.

Iambic feet, with dance-like pivoting,
Become the heart-beats of seductive story.

Thunder is the trochee's stammer,
Strikes the senses like a hammer.

And in gentle and windingly sensuous speech
Stir the anapests flowing in triple-time each.

Hear now! the spondee at this line's first foot.
Once more! Emphatic, double-stamping boot!

The natural flow of human speech, this too should not be disdained.
How it ebbs and flows, like the moon-drunk dancers on the sea's tumultuous mantle:
Rising through nouns and verbs, adverbs, adjectives,
Rolling and falling through the prepositions,
The articles and conjunctions.
Falling, redoubling, words bounce and quicken:
Cadence! Rhythm yet again!

Content, diction are essential;
What you say, indeed it matters,
But do not stifle the potential
To invoke those mystic patters
The bards of old deployed to weave
Their words into hypnotic art,
Or if these do not suit you, and you'd rather take your leave
Of the ancient devices, then, at very least, with ear and heart
Listen to the rhythm that your words impart.

And now, my reader, it is time
To demonstrate these thoughts in rhyme.
The iamb, trochee, dactyl, spondee,
Anapest, now soon you'll know them fondly!

Hammer (Trochaic Meter)

Hammer! Hammer! Beating, rapping,
Banging, rat-a-tat-a-tapping!
Cease to violate my napping!

Galloping (Dactyllic Meter)

Galloping. Galloping. Cloppety. Cloppety.
Riding and rearing with attitude uppity.

Kerplunk! (Iambic Meter)

Kerplunk! A lazy stone is cast
Upon the still and sleeping brook
Imparting ripples in the blast:
My wits are scattered by her look.

Rejection (Speech Rhythms)

Where are you going, and why so soon?
I say it, but on the inside,
Not wishing to presume.
Still, it must be apparent
That I, wearing that all-too-familiar frown,
Feel somehow abandoned,
In a word, disowned.

The Hunt (Anapestic Meter)

'Click-click-BAM!' says the shotgun. Its sound—
In the valley, it echoes around,
But the glistening dew
On the grass is not moved
And the fox has slipped hunter and hound.

Impatience (Spondee-laced Iambic Meter)

"RIGHT NOW" is when I want my wants!
It's now, NOT LAter, cry my needs.
Another hour: TIME FLIES! Its dance
Departs too soon. GIVE CHASE, SWIFT STEEDS!

George Chadderdon © 1996