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Old 07-21-2018, 03:09 AM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 5,446

Patrick, since Sam clearly thinks of your base meter as trochaic, I thought I should explain why I prefer to think of it as iambic, even though most of your lines start with a stressed rather than an unstressed syllable.

The meter of your poem is like that of Blake's "The Tyger," which begins:

Tyger Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

If you think of the base meter as trochees (with an incomplete foot at the end of every line), you have no option but to switch from trochees to iambs when the line starts with an unstressed syllable:

| trochee | trochee | trochee | catalectic trochee |
| trochee | trochee | trochee | catalectic trochee |
| trochee | trochee | trochee | catalectic trochee |
| iamb | iamb | iamb | iamb |

If, however, you think of it as primarily iambs (with headless iambs at the beginning of most lines), you barely have to adjust your thinking at all to adjust to the variations at the beginning of the line:

| headless iamb | iamb | iamb | iamb |
| headless iamb | iamb | iamb | iamb |
| headless iamb | iamb | iamb | iamb |
| iamb | iamb | iamb | iamb |

Personally, I think it's simpler to make minor adjustments to the same diagnostic tool throughout, as needed. Sam seems to prefer to emphasize the differences in the first foot. Both ways work, though.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-21-2018 at 03:17 AM.
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