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Unread 09-22-2019, 10:32 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 6,246

No problem, Nemo. It really doesn't matter much, as it's really a small matter, whether a reader hears that line as pent or hex. It's the continued anaphora, as you said, that's the captivating aspect of it. Still, you could simply omit the "and" before "of trade" and I think it would sound fine and be unambiguously pentameter. But, as I said, it's a very tiny thing not worth dwelling on.

And you are also right about that line leading nicely to the more overstuffed line that comes after it. Although, even with all those anapests, I hear that second line as totally pentameter!

and if raised to your eye, you could stare right through its middle. (5 clear beats)

Last edited by Martin Elster; 09-23-2019 at 10:22 AM. Reason: spelling
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Unread 09-23-2019, 08:25 AM
R. Nemo Hill's Avatar
R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Halcott, New York
Posts: 8,992

Hey, Martin, I'm enjoying a calmer morning, fewer distractions, and realizing more clearly the rhyme scheme of the poem. It was written some time ago and so I kind of lost track of my intentional pattern in my earlier remarks. That often happens to me; after composition I like to read a poem without counting; likewise I usually read the poems of others without counting, just letting them flow unless something bumps against my ear. That congested line is indeed five beats, but the line before it was actually originally conceived as tet, with the and not promoted.

It was a snapshot, in iv'ry, of travel and of trade

The whole poem was written in alternating lines of tet and pent.

It was one of those forbidden things,
foreign, fragile—and many times my age.
“It was hand-carved from the bones of kings,”
yet sprang to life beneath my guileless gaze.
It was pure stillness and pure pilgrimage.
It was part precious heirloom and part riddle.
It was a snapshot, in ivory, of travel and of trade
and if raised to your eye, you could stare right through its middle.

I am afraid such a scan will probably make you delirious, and if you want to call it accentual you may. But I wrote it with the basic tet/pent framework in mind, and made it adhere to what I consider natural voice patterns.

The fact that I could passionately mis-scan that line in my rush may give ammunition to those who object to the liberties taken. But again, I think in context, and in relaxed voice, the patterns become clear.

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Unread 09-23-2019, 10:01 AM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,526

Your scansion is perfect, Nemo.
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