Endless Weight

I have gone out into the snow,
braving the winter’s fiery cold,
and searched for rabbit high and low
when frosty mitts refused to hold.

Crouched here by the flickering fire,
with sustenance somehow in hand
and hope renewed as flesh desire,
I begin again to clutch at strands
of life’s little leaded moments,
in the weight of our laughs and cries
and in the wait for small rodents
to give a vestige to my life.

If I were to go back behind,
not to the quaint little cabin,
but backwards, opposite of time
would I then still begin again
the great forgetting I have found
as fire, rabbit, and freedom:
the simple things like self newfound,
or would it all go to tedium,
screaming cars, and booming days
filled up to the ears with the wait?

Dance in the Fire – A Villanelle

Do not let your spirit be leveled flat,
your laughter should rise with the coming sun,
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life.

Let old men bedraggle their minds with stats,
because your world is young and just begun.
Do not let your spirit be leveled flat.

Old men in their disheveled rages will chat,
the best of them will say, the world’s undone:
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life.

The worst will stand as pillars so fat
from flagellating their littlest pun.
Do not let your spirit be leveled flat.

Whoever is born, dies, and lives by that,
roar against the bald heads of men so dumb;
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life,

and you, my friend, might just not fall as flat
as these old grey men who look up to none.
Do not let your spirit be leveled flat;
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life.

To The Scientific Minded

We adapt and flex as rubber,
because, for us searchers, wonder
finds answers that aren’t writ in stone,
but instead adjusts the language
and syntax as sand to the wind,
yet, the questions go unanswered.

Going without the staff of Sheppard
we can’t lean on things unseen now,
and must fight with reason to be
certain of what we’ve discovered
within the shy edge of an atom
or the depths deep within cosmic
nebulae gasses expanding
into stellar regions unknown.

Here on earth a while we listen,
content ourselves to drink our drop
of beer, unlearn ruling dictum,
and give no faith to a system
so changing as Brownian Motion.

So, go now and question the spheres,
overturn the doctrines of old,
and laugh so hard that even a stake
lit with fires of holy hate
could not burn up your search for truth.

To Be Human

To destroy is to be human,
we’d sell the sun to buy a candle;
to create is to be human,
we’d smelt the embers down to sand
and blow the glass to fiery orb,
casting our light up in the sky
as savior and penance to grand
human ideas that blighted the land,
if only there were enough time.

Metrical Verse – An Overview

I have heard the question a lot over the years when reading online about poetry on forums, “what is the easiest way to explain Iambic Pentameter?”

Here I am going to attempt to give this answer.

First we have to understand the question. The word Iambic is referring to a type of metrical foot.

A foot within metrical poetry is a unit of measurement. There are the following types of metrical feet which I have separated into rising and falling meters.

Rising – metrical feet that climb in accent.

Iamb – A foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one. As in the word “beCAUSE.” It is said that English tends to fall into Iambs naturally, and as a source of interest it is a fact that the human heart beats in Iambs.

Anapest – A foot consisting of two unaccented syllables followed by one accented syllable. As in the word “underSTAND.”

Pyrrhic – A foot consisting of two unaccented syllables. Often used to form what is refereed to as a double iamb or two unstressed syllables followed by two stressed syllables, which for later purposes here is actually not counted as a substitution of the feet it uses.

Falling – metrical feet that fall in accent

Trochee – a foot consisting of one accented syllable followed by one unaccented syllable. This particular which is the opposite of the question we are answering is often used to great effect when presenting movement as it seems to race across the page. William Shakespeare wrote these lines,

Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble

and the effect is noticeable.

Dactyl – A foot consisting of one accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables. As in the word “BEAUTiful.”

Spondee – A foot consisting of two stressed syllables. Often used to form what is refereed to as a double spondee or two stressed syllables followed by two unstressed syllables, which for later purposes here is actually not counted as a substitution of the feet it uses.

Those are the basic types of metrical feet. There are some more advanced one but most 99% of metrical verse is written with these. So, now we understand what metrical feet are, but that is meter, pentameter, and how do I use these feet?

Meter is simply the number of those feet within a line of poetry.

Meter types by number of feet.

  • one foot = monometer
  • two feet = dimeter
  • three feet = trimeter
  • four feet = tetrameter
  • five feet = pentameter
  • six feet = hexameter
  • seven feet = heptameter
  • eight feet = octameter

In English there is a natural love for pentameter, lines with 5 metrical feet. Moreover, this love in particular has been for iambic pentameter, or lines containing 5 metrical feet of what is called normative iambic verse.

Normative means to maintain the normal amount of iambs (rising) or trochees (falling) within a line.

Normative is decided by substitutions of other feet types within the line, or rather a lack of substituting more than 50% of a line. So, in basic terms, when dealing with iambic pentameter, one could not replace more than two of the feet within the line without loosing the lines normative meter and thus making the poem not metrical any longer.

When I / do COUNT / the CLOCK / that TELLS / the TIME – Sonnet 12, Shakespeare. Perfect Iambic pentameter.

The wáy to dústy déath, Óut, óut, brief cándle!

Here Shakespeare makes two substations within the pentameter line. The first is out, out, which is a spondee and the second is something we have not yet talked about yet, and that is the last syllable at the end of the line. This is what is called a feminine ending, and is technically allowed in addition to the two substitutions, but must not happen on the first line of a stanza so a reader has a chance to establish the meter in their heads.

Any of the above feet can be substituted as long as the meter remains normative.

So in closing, Iambic pentameter is the use of 5 foot lines of poetry that are made of iambs and allowed substitutions within strict metrical verse.

  • What Talent We Once Had
    Remember Lenon and his words, how he sang so eloquently ‘that your still fucking peasants as far as I can see,’
  • Hero
    He’s nobody’s hero, the man that wakes at dawn, the bagger that packs bags ’till swole with groceries.
  • Lullaby
    We are living in Orwell’s mind, while Huxley sings his lullaby
  • Build Back Better
    Do not believe bankers, princes, or governments; for all their wealth, glittering gold, and grasping at control,
  • Please Don’t Send Flowers
    He passed away today—or was it days ago,I have not the strength to tell.Anymore, the rose’s petal’s saywhat my words could never:don’t send me more flowers—please don’t affix a card to the lilies,because I have relived his deathwith each wilting lilyand cried more often then a rose in molt.
  • Two Truths
    Oh, Khafre would you tell the truth? Was it you who removed Anubis from the rough paws that soothed the world

Telescope Eyes

Often I think that people are distant
and only look close when viewed from a far;
each star its own among the crowded streets
and lonely bars; each a beacon that peers
long and with labor in to the night,
long and with longing for some-other
dawning of light within it’s neighboring group.
Perhaps, Grandpa was right about our new,
black shiny sources of imitated light.
Like telescopes and space the gaps have closed,
and the vast distances now seem as ponds,
but we look with telescope eyes and see
only the beginning of things and not the scene
as it is being played out in the deeds.

The Swoosh

The Reaper’s cloak swooshes across the road.
A feeling of doom sweeps over my bones,
I hear the sound of sharpening up in my throat,
Not the lawn mower blades or scissors denote
the sound of silent killer sliding soft
across the dirt road and its jagged rocks.

The swoosh, whoosh, swoosh that once brought life,
the very tool that raised me up from germ-
inated seed to golden wheat arching in the breeze,
now casts autumn’s shadow before my feet
as silent wind swooshing off of the pond
and torment sliced off the heavy cost of love—lost.

Figurative Language and Speech

Broadly figurative language is the use of figures of speech to be more effective, persuasive, and to have your words/speech be more impact on the reader/listen.

Metaphor, simile, allusion go beyond the literal, giving the more meaning and insight to our readers. On the opposite side of the figurative spectrum are alliteration, imagery, and onomatopoeia which appeal to the senses.

The five different forms of figurative language.

Donald Trump is not too dim, is an understatement.

George Bush orated like a scholar, is an overstatement.

The sentence, “Donald is a dim light bulb.,” is a metaphor. Metaphor and simile both are types of figurative language that attempt to make on thing resemble another.

Figures of Sound. The use of the sound of a word or phrase (or the repetition of sounds) to convey a particular effect. Common ones are alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, and rhyme. Also, onomatopoeia, or words designed to mimic a sound. Words like, “swoosh,” “buzz,” “clank,” “boom are examples of what is called figures of sound and a part of figurative language.

An effect similar to an onomatopoeic word can be created by combining alliteration . If you mix alliteration with the idea of mimicking sound you can create the same thing.

In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem ‘The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” he uses the phrase “furrow followed free” to mimic the sound of a wake of waves behind a moving ship.

Errors in speech, often used as comedic value or to avoid censorship, as in “Go duck yourself, you bat fastered.

Verbal Games. Idiom is a mixing of the literal with the figurative. In the phrase “keep an eye out” there is both literal and figurative meaning, and if we attempted to remove the literal meaning it would be quite comical, if not gross.

Verbal games are plays on words like puns.

I saw the ball and wonder, “why is it getting bigger,” and then it hit me. The speaker here was either hit bit a ball or an epiphany, or perhaps both, but either way a play on words led us to multiple understandings.

Those are the five forms of figurative language but what cannot ever be alluded to is depth and breadth of their importance to literary work by such a list. Some of these five will be less useful and other will be more useful in your poetry, but this is the color of language and the spice that keeps things tasting fresh, use as desired.

Types of Figurative Language (to become links)
This covers a wide range of literary devices and techniques, some of which include:


Personification as a Poetic Device

In it’s most simple form personification is a poetic device where animals, plants or even inanimate objects, are given human qualities. I said simple because, in it’s basic form, if we imagine a rabbit hunting with a 4-10 shotgun that is personification, and that is a fairly simple idea.

Now, let us think about the words “the lightning danced across the sky,” they too are personification. So, too, is the idea that “the moon played hide and go seek throughout the night; the clouds shed tears of joy as they helped the moon.” As you can see there is metaphor within personification and it can be used to make metaphors deeper with skill.

William Wordsworth is famous for his use of this poetic device. Through out his poetry you will find examples of personification. In the poem, “As I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” by Wordsworth he employees the same technique as the concept of the moon playing hide and go seek, except with the flowers and the breeze. He also is not quite so forward in his description, giving us these lines:

When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees.
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

The above excerpt comes from a very loved poem within the English language and to me I don’t think it would be the same without personification, especially these lines. Imagine a universe where he had instead said:

“When at once I saw golden daffodils,
beside the lake, beneath the trees
blowing in the mornings cold breeze”

Even though I have gone to a little length to make it so the lines are more poetic than simply chopping out the personification, these still seem less worthy. Even if I continued and rhymed something to daffodils in the next line, they just would not be the same. So, long story short if nature cannot describe itself with its vast amount of images, go ahead and related it back to human things and give it personality because sometimes it works.

Supine and Standing Dreams

In thumping thuds of far off drowsy drums
I hear the restless distant call of questions,
beckoning me closer to feel their boom
and beat within my body louder the taunt,
the reverberation, of needed answers
and the eternal feel of standing naked
staring silently at a sea of stars
and thinking, if gravity is a force
my thumping heart’s within it’s orbital pull.
So, too, my mind is gravitational
and bound to the electric force of Earth,
as listless wanderer of drums and beats
that hammer their sound in to my loud mind
when in the midst of sluggish eye or dream.

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