Thursday, 15 December 2011

Meet Metre

"Hello Metre,"
"Hello Rachel,"
I imagine a small, gruff, moustached man... but not unfriendly.
Metre in poetry is described here as being like a heartbeat. Bum bum, bum bum. Apparently we use Greek words to describe a lot of technical things in English. Stephen gives a few examples, and I particularly like that 'gynaecology' is just thrown into the list casually.
And so I learn more about metre, about the rhythmic banging of a drum that makes up a line in a poem. Ti-tum ti-tum ti-tum, makes me think of Winnie the Pooh ambling along happily, thinking of nothing at all, especially not poetry. The non-stressed words in a line of poetry can be referred to as a number of things, such as 'weak' and 'slack,' which seems a bit mean to me. If I were an unstressed word I would definitely be offended by that. But even though I'm not one, is it OK for me to stand back and say nothing?  
The chapter then descends into talking about Iambic Pentameter. Even hearing those two words make me shudder with bad memories of poetry lessons past. But I'm not going to let that bother me. The opposite of an Iamb 'ti-tum' is called a trochee, which has a falling rhythm, 'tum-ti'. There are also spondee's, which have equal stress on both ti and tum. I find myself wondering who came up with these stupid names. It's hardly surprising that the Iamb is the most popular, because if I was a trochee or a spondee then I would be embarrassed to introduce myself to anyone at a party.
Oh dear, I wonder if this apparent theme of personification is going to be present throughout the whole of my blog? It's annoying me already, but somehow I just can't help it.
The final one is two unstressed units (ti-tum), called 'pyrrhic foot.' Now that just sounds like a disease.
Stephen refers to the Iamb as the hero of the chapter. How very Hollywood.  Never fear, Iamb-o-man will save us!
I'm sorry, Stephen, I really don't mean to take the piss so much, honestly.
In conclusion, Iambic Pentameter is a measure of five 'feet' with a strong accented ending.

I feel like I'm building up so much to the actual writing of any poetry, that when I finally get there it will be a huge anticlimax, for me and more importantly for you the poor reader. Be prepared for next time...

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