These are similar but not identical concepts. Rhythm refers to the overall tempo, or pace, at which the poem unfolds, while meter refers to the measured beat established by patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables. Poets who write free verse, generally de-emphasize or ignore meter and focus instead on refining and tuning their natural speech rhythms to suit the poem's tone and content. Or as Ezra Pound put it, they "compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome."
Still, even if you write mostly free verse, understanding some basic metric principles can help. As has often been pointed out, English sentences naturally tend to establish a dominant beat, usually iambic, so if you have a troublesome line or phrase that "just doesn't feel right," you may find that by quickly scanning your line, you can spot and fix the problem, replacing a one syllable word with a two syllable word, or vice-versa. Besides helping with such quick rhythmic tune ups, metric awareness is essential for writing in traditional fixed forms, such as blank verse or the sonnet.
Here, very briefly, is how to scan a line. First read it aloud to get a feel for where the stressed and unstressed syllables fall.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
--Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Criticism"
Then mark the syllables as being stressed or unstressed. Mark unstressed syllables with a and stressed syllables with a .
Next, look for patterns. First check the syllables two at a time; then if no pattern is evident, three at a time. When you see a repeated pattern, use a /to divide the line into feet.
If you're in doubt, try another line:
This second line is more difficult, partly because of the three lightly stressed syllables " . . . bors, and the, . . ." Yet this very faltering, laboring for consistency seems to emphasize Pope's points about effort and struggle, about sound echoing sense.
By now we can recognize a dominant meter:
And knowing that meter helps us fit the doubtful syllables into the established pattern, in this case iambic pentameter.
This short discussion just gives the barest essentials. How deeply you get into metrics depends upon your level of interest and the type of poetry you write.
Rhyme And Rythm in Blake's A Divine Image Essay
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Rhyme And Rythm in Blake's A Divine Image
In "A Divine Image", Blake uses several techniques and literary devices, to transmit his thoughts about social injustice, cruelty and human nature, Rhyme and rhythm are two of the main features in this poem this poem is the rhythm affect the whole mood, tone and meaning of the poem. The poet has chosen different methods to give the poem specific sounds that affect the pace and structure of the rhythm.
The structure of the first stanza helps us understand the relationships between the four aspects of human nature presented, cruelty, jealousy, terror and secrecy. The first and third lines start with the main word, while in the second and fourth ones the words come preceded by the word "And".…show more content…
On a deeper level, this way of structuring can represent the inflexibility and stiffness of these negative human aspects, like immovable objects buried deep inside human nature. We can see that the most outstanding rhythmical feature of this stanza is foregrounding. In fact, every line of the poem has the word "human" in it. This excessive repetitiveness, together with the characteristics described, leads the reader to render them exclusively human, the result of our intellectual superiority over nature. The stress of the lines fall in the word "human" in every case in the second stanza, achieved by the foregrounding device.
The repetition of the consonant sounds plays a very important part in the rhythm of the second stanza. We notice that the consonant sound most frequently repeated is the "f" sound, a sharp and keen one, for example in "? is forged iron", "?form a fiery forge" or "?face a furnace sealed". This repetitiveness of the "f" sound together with the image of a furnace and iron being forged, suggests a very strong image of fire that affects the tone and mood of the poem. The climax of this image is achieved in the third lines when the image of the furnace is presented. Interestingly enough we can find juxtaposition of the words "face" and "furnace" as these don't usually go together, for the heat of a furnace would burn someone's face. This suggests the somewhat chaotic human nature referring to jealousy.