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Paul Francis Mc Cann

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Some More On Poetry Form
by Paul Francis Mc Cann   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, May 09, 2009
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2008

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Insight with writing poetry structures

Some more on poetry form

I would like to introduce you to ten poetry structures . Some of them are my own while others are established .

Structure 1 - The Quatrain

Is this structure the stanza within a poem consists of four lines.

My Example is written in an Iambic Pentameter (10 Syllables per line )

Iambic Pentameter is a metered structure of poetry that measures the length or feet to be used . As unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

"Pentameter" is formed from the Greek word "penta-", meaning "five" .

So "pentameter" indicates that we'll be using 5 metrical feet in each line. Five iambic feet would give us 10 syllables per line, giving the pattern:
A - B - A - B - A - B – A - B - A – B

Usually, however, all the lines of the quatrain are rhymed; the first line is rhymed with the third, the second with the fourth.

My Example- A Quatrain

Its Christmas Inside
By Paul McCann

It is time to place a wreath on the door .
To share the joy and peace with everyone .
A Christmas tree to stand upon the floor .
To write on tags and wrap up gifts for some .

Its Christmas inside and stockings are hung .
At both the feet and ends of little beds .
The lights are out and carols have been sung .
All the children are sleeping in their beds .

Structure 2 - Joke Verse

This is a structure I created to focus on comic comprehension using poetic dicton and meter . The product of which is telling a joke or funny story using poetry as a vehicle for that .

My Example

The Field
By Paul McCann

A worm swallowed by a cow in a field ,
First though it was dead .
As it lay in the cows stomach it wondered and then it said .

"How am I going to escape from here ?".
Then it fell asleep .
When it woke the cow wasn't there ,
Just men who began to speak .

Two farmers in the field saw a flock of birds fly overhead .
Look said one to the other ,
"Gulls . "
The other one turned and said .

"How can you tell what sex they are from this distance ?
Don't be daft .
Watch that dung there ?"

"Too Late "
Said he ,
and they both began to laugh .

They got in their tractor and drove from the field onto the road ,
right in front of a truck that slammed on its brakes loosing its load .
The truck skidded into the field and burst into flames and smoke .
The farmers said ,

"We just got out of there in time . "

"Yeah , poor Bloke ."

Structure 3 - Free Verse

This style still recognised as poetry even though there is no form of meter or rhyme, . Free verse or prose has an ability to use multiple poetic devices that is evident to the reader . Prose should be a vehicle that permits imagery to flow in a unrestrictive way .

The line rather than the foot is the rhythmical unit, and lines vary in length in accordance with the demands of content .

An Example

The poetry of Walt Whitman.

His As Toilsome I Wander'd Virginia's Woods, inspired by an incident during the Civil War, is an example:

As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet (for 'twas autumn),
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat (easily all could I understand),
The halt of a mid-day hour, when up! no time to lose-yet this sign left, 5
On a tablet scrawled and nail'd on the tree by the grave,
Bold, cautious, true , and my loving comrade.

Long, long, I muse, then on my way go wandering,
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,
Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the crowded street, 10
Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, comes the inscription rude in Virginia's woods,
Bold, cautious, true , and my loving comrade.

Structure 4 - Tercet

Tercet - A tercet is three lines of poetry forming a stanza or complete poem. Haiku is an example of an unrhymed tercet poem.

First and third lines rhyme ,middle words don't rhyme. The sequence can continue in this alternative pattern .

My Example

Its All So Crystal Clear
By Paul McCann

If we can see beyond logic you will discover innocence .

Academics upon mountain tops can hear the world has gone deaf .

Seeing through innocent eyes everything can somehow make sense .

Without a single word or echo one's voice is a wasted breath .

The lonely summit of the locked up negative though is a groan .

Looking at life through a looking glass is crystal clear until death .

Structure 5 - Onomatopoeia Poetry

Onomatopoeia is the formation of words in that imitate imitation of sounds; a figure of speech in which the sound of a word is imitative of the sound of the thing which the word represents .

My Example

Rhythmic Rain

By Paul McCann

Tip Tap goes the rain .

Spitting on my window pane .

Drip drip from the trees .

Sodden earthy and soggy leaves .

Splosh Splash puddle pools

Jumping on their way to schools .

Structure 6 - The Monologue

Monologue is a piece of oral or written literature (eg, a story, poem or part of a play) spoken by one person who exposes inner thoughts and provides insights into his or her character.

An Example -CAIN

A monologue from the play by Lord Byron

CAIN: And this is Life? — Toil!

And wherefore should I toil? — because

My father could not keep his place in Eden?

What had I done in this? — I was unborn:

I sought not to be born; nor love the state

To which that birth has brought me. Why did he

Yield to the Serpent and the woman? or

Yielding—why suffer? What was there in this?

The tree planted, and why not for him?

If not, why place him near it, where it grew

The fairest in the center? They have but

One answer to all questions, "'Twas his will,

And he is good." How know I that? Because

He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow?

I judge but by the fruits—and they are bitter—

Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.

Why do I exist? Why art all things wretched?

Ev'n he who made us must be, as the maker

Of things unhappy! To produce destruction

Can surely never be the task of joy,

And yet my sire says he's omnipotent:

Then why is Evil—he being Good? I asked

This question of my father; and he said,

Because this Evil only was the path

To Good. Strange good, that must arise from out

Its deadly opposite. I lately saw

A lamb stung by a reptile: the poor suckling

Lay foaming on the earth, beneath the vain

And piteous bleating of its restless dam;

My father plucked some herbs, and laid them to

The wound; and by degrees the helpless wretch

Resumed its careless life, and rose to drain

The mother's milk, who o'er it tremulous

Stood licking its reviving limbs with joy.

Behold, my son! said Adam, how from Evil springs Good!

But I thought, that 'twere a better portion for the animal

Never to have been stung at all than to

Purchase renewal of its little life

With agonies unutterable, though

Dispelled by antidotes.

My Example

The Good Thief

By Paul McCann

The day came to Calvary
Three crosses stood on a hill.

The crowd began to gather,
Before the blood began to spill .

Two others and I were sentenced ,
the cross could not resist.

But one was an innocent man.
How could they have done this ?

For this is the man who knelt down

and wept by olive trees .

He was whipped like me until he

fell on his bended knees .

They nailed him to a cross ,
like me but did not question why .

Upon a cross with outstretched arms ,
he'd suffer then he'd die .

But I am just a common thief and they've misunderstood .

Beside me Jesus sacrificed his life .
Impaled on wood .

A crown of thorns upon his head.
the King Of Cavalry .

Remember in your Kingdom Lord .
a good thief just like me .

Structure 7 - The Ode

Originally the ode was a Greek form of dramatic poetry involving dancing and singing . Some Odes tend to be irregular with no meter pattern .

An Ode should focus on a high expression of lyrical poetry . It should offer loftier content matter with dignified usage of the English vocabulary .

Most odes are long lyrical pieces .

Itr would be advise look seriously at the subject matter .

If possible write on a theme or topic that you enjoy then consider a serious edge on that theme . Try to introduce beauty in your words . Those moments in your poem can be discovered . Generally the ode is better written in the 10-line stanza style of iambic verse as previously mentioned in the Quatrain structure . An example of the structure could be an ababcdecde rhyme scheme.

An Example

To Autumn
by John Keats
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

My Example

Ode For Ben Bulben
By Paul McCann


Once more to go , beyond County Sligo ,
With thoughts of the country I've come to know .
A vision beyond Ben Bulbens delight .
Where dark clouds part to the morning sunlight .
Twelve misty peaks over green grassy glens ,
Displayed there are natures high clustered Bens .
From the ground to the top are paths to tread ,
For the pilgrims to ascent where they're led .
Who hears pilgrims prayers in heavenly flight ,
As angels wait bathed in morning sunlight .


Generations of Gaels soft spoken words
Have been carried by wings of the birds .
In a rapturous song perfectly sung .
on twelve peaks strange shadowy shapes have clung .
Thick are the clouds found to be coming down
In a mist covering this holy ground .
Oh what a sight welcomes all those who might ,
find their way to the mountain top at night .
A star clustered show at County Sligo ,
Shines a glittering ethereal hello .


Majestic the sight from heavenly height,
As on the summit humble prayers take flight .
God has cradled there in heavens soft glow ,
Something of a miracle to bestow .
A beauty rare, you can never compare ,
All we can do is for that moment share .
A grateful prayer for all that we see
Oh what splendour to my God glory be .
So if your feet are set on a path there ,
come back home safe on a wing and a prayer

Focus on the epode of an ode

Epode - The part of the Ode that is written as a resolution, usually employing all forms of the previous two stanzas. And is commonly voiced as though both sides were in unison.

Structure 8 In-Tense

This is an original structure I created which moves from past tense to present tense and back to past tense in the storyline or theme .

My Example

I Can't Have What I Had
By Paul McCann

I had drugs .
I had pubs.
I had girls on call .

I had fought .
I had thought ,
I had done it all.

I had burned .
I had turned .
I had to atone .

I was gone .
I was wrong .
I was on my own .

I had lost all I had then I got it back .

I have faith
I am safe .
I have earned respect .

I have fun .
I have won .
I have worked it out .

I have found .
I am bound .
I have no more doubt .

I am glad .
I have had all other things added.

I have found my life when I lost all I had .

Structure 9 - Anaphora

The Anaphora structure is one of the worlds oldest poetic techniques .

It uses a repetitive word or phrase at the beginning of each or successive phrases .The repetition can be as simple as a single word or as long as an entire phrase. Religious and devotional poetry are written in the anaphora form .

My Example

Blessed Be
By Paul McCann

Blessed be the Father .
Blessed be the Son .
Blessed be the Spirit .
Blessed three in one .
Blessed be the children carrying his flame .
Blessed be our Father .
Blessed be his name .
Blessed be creation animals and man .
Blessed be the mountains over all the land .
Blessed be the wild beasts ,
blessed be the tame .
Blessed be our Father .
Blessed be his name .
Blessed be the heavens .
Blessed be the light .
Blessed be the morning .
Blessed be the night .
Blessed the mystery that remains the same .
Blessed be our Father .
Blessed be his name

Structure 10 - Octave Poetry

In this structure the octave verse consists of an eight line rhyme scheme . An ABBA ABBA format would be followed .

My Example

The Sunken Kingdom
By Paul McCann

A mountain of jewels and gold the King sat upon .
With the huge wealth collected the King wore a smile
And in his Kingdom vanity ruled for a while .
All his subjects were weak and his evil was strong .

Vanity took to the sea the voyage was long.
Carpenters from Bylos did he tempt and beguile .
To build him a ship for all his treasures to pile .
But ship's of fools in the sea can never belong .

Poetry has to be a continuous voice and we must respect the disciplined expression we use . I will talk to you again soon about poetry form, so lets not say farewell but hello .

By Paul McCann


Web Site: New Poetry Form

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Reviewed by Kathy Armijo 2/21/2008
Lacking formal training in writing poetry, I find your mini-courses to be of infinite value. Thank you.

God bless you. Kathy
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