Yes, I skipped some days. Part of this is due to suddenly needing to go out of town for an interview (and a test for said interview). As I am looking for a job to help bolster my income, I simply had no time for an update. Since daily updating may not be possible for me this month, I will consolidate poems and some information on poetry into a larger post set for at least twice a week. This is more doable for me than a weekly update, and it allows for me to spend a bit more time on my poetry and a bit more time on research for these posts.
As for today’s post, I ran with a prompt (again from Tisiphone at Legendfire):
Boiling| quagmire | burns hot | – million | degrees
Bubbles | of quan|tum foam -| one ex|plodes out
within |seconds | our un|iverse| is born.
Death throes | of stars | seed all | of space — | our atom’s
lega|cy these | tumult|uous| births, ex|plosive| deaths — life
entan|gled with | death, cy|cle un|ending.
So in the above, I included the symbols I use to mark the end of a foot*. I wanted to stick with iambic pentameter, though I notice that some of the feet are raelly trochaic pentameter. It also leaves me frustrated because I feel the words with three syllables or more are cut up oddly in the poem. This is generally how I start a poem, especially if I want a rhythm to it. My next step is always to read it out loud and see where I place the stress as I read. If I’m writing free verse, I focus entirely on reading it out loud and don’t even bother with feet and meter at all — free verse for me is really just a stream of consciousness smoothed into a flow of words that feel natural and complete as is. If I decide on blank verse, or really any sort of poetic form that involves meters, I focus first on the meter and then the flow. Sometimes the meter will aid in creating the flow, and sometimes it won’t. Sometimes the meter I originally chose is the wrong meter for the poem, and reading it out loud helps me find the correct meter. Again, poetry can be a challenge and elusive exercise, and all you can do is just keep experimenting with words, meters, and flow.
*To better explain this, let me give some basic definitions of the terms I’m using:
A foot is a measurement of two syllables. As to what type of foot these are depends on where the stress falls. If the stress falls on the second syllable, then it’s an iambic meter. If it falls on the first syllable, it’s known as trochaic meter. For a foot that has stress on both syllables, it’s often called a spondaic meter. A foot doesn’t necessarily have to be just two syllables. It can represent three syllables, and in this case, the two possible meters of a three-syllabic foot is: Anapestic where the stress is on the last syllable, or dactylic where the stress is on the first syllable.
Now the type of foot you use is only part of what identifies the meter in a poem. The other part is how many foots you use in a line. For example, an iambic pentameter uses five feet in that line, and the “iambic” part tells you what type of foot. There’s also tetrameters for four feet in a line, or hexameters for six feet in a line, or trimeter for three feet in a line. These aren’t all the possible meters, but it’s the ones most commonly used in Western poetry.
Writing with meter is a great way to learn how to write poetry, and even though it’s hard to do, it’s worth the effort. Of course, you can up the challenge by adding a rhyme scheme to your poem. What rhyme scheme works for the poem really depends on your vision and the flow of the poem. There’s dozens of possible rhyming schemes out there, and I’ll probably cover that a different day.