A good poetry emanates from the heart of the poet, vibrates in its rhythm that resonates in the mind of the reader. The form of poetry has evolved over the years with literary experiments on poetic expressions where the muse weaves tapestry of words. The traditional forms of verse use some kind of rhythmic pattern called meter (meaning ‘measure’ in Greek), a scheme of stressed and unstressed syllables. Each set of such syllables comprises a foot, the building block of meter. The lines of most of English poetry are like garlands that string together the foot, the individual rhythmic unit, the flower. The arrangement of syllables (stressed, unstressed) in these units in lines of a poem may vary, deciding its meter, such as, Iamb (a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable), Pyrrhic (2 unstressed syllables), Spondee (2 stressed syllables), Trochee (a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable), Anapest (2 unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable), and Dactyl (a stressed syllable followed by 2 unstressed syllables). The length of the line is controlled by the number of feet, giving the metric pattern to the poem, such as, monometer (1 foot), dimeter (2 feet), trimeter (3 feet), tetrameter (4 feet), pentameter (5 feet), hexameter (6 feet) etc. In this basic pattern the rhythm is how the words flow with the meter. Rhythm can be created by repetition of words that flow in metric pattern or by breaking up the flow with longer or shorter lines. A poem is indeed like a river that flows with words in lines rippling in rhythmic pattern.
In the mountains cascades the brook in glee,
water of the foothill river is free,
the feet of banks dancing ripples embrace,
the rhythm of flow wraps the river in grace.
Ripples may come, ripples may go, it flows
to the ocean, placid ocean it goes.
July 19, 2018
(The poem is set in iambic pentameter with rhythmic repetition of words in the last two lines.)
Copyright © Subimal Sinha-Roy | Year Posted 2018
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