Poetry Is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning.

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What did the poet Carl Sandburg write about? [on hold]

What did Carl Sandburg write about? What are his themes of poetry? He wrote about war, and the Great Depression, but what else?
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34 views

discussing meaning in language - poetry and song lyrics [migrated]

Not really a language question (probably more of a meta question really), but where is the best forum to discuss meaning / interpretation of poetry / song lyrics - pragmatics, inference, metaphor, ...
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119 views

Do readers think of the word “ejaculate” beyond its common sexual meaning? [closed]

I am an editor, and a poet whom I work with has included the expression "I ejaculated little prayers" in one of his stanzas, which we all know has the dictionary meaning of "intensely calling out." ...
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70 views

What is Poetry? What does not count as Poetry? Help me get a grasp of it [closed]

Background: Yesterday afternoon I overheard two people chatting, I think one was reading or reciting a poem. It was quite emotional, and actually quite lovely. Later I saw several poems on TEDTalks ...
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91 views

Shakespeare and Maths: Metre and Completeness

Shakespearian sonnets have a particular structure where each line of the poem contains ten syllables (due to the use of iambic pentameter). This is, one might think, because ten sounds 'complete' to ...
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138 views

The meaning of “rack” or “rock” in “The Peasant Poet” by John Clare

From “The Peasant Poet”, a poem by John Clare: He loved the brook's soft sound, The swallow swimming by. He loved the daisy-covered ground, The cloud-bedappled sky. To him the dismal storm ...
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2answers
36 views

“I will meet” anapest substitute

I have the following song verse, which needs to be composed in Anapest (unaccented unaccented accented): I will meet (i-WILL-meet) Annabelle (an-nuh-BELLE) In my dreams (in-my-DREAMS) What would ...
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1answer
109 views

Can I use “let … alone” to mean “even though/if”? [closed]

I am composing a poem and have something like this Even if/though it is thousand miles far, we can still share the one. in mind, which I want to express it more poetically as Let thousand ...
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1answer
114 views

Are there words in English that are both alliterations and rhyme?

I'm wondering if it is possible for words to be both alliterations and rhyme with each other? It seems like it is possible, especially if you allow for a different number of syllables, but I can't ...
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1answer
249 views

Parsing the first two lines of “Western Wind”

The 16th century poem "Western Wind" goes as follows: Westron wynde, when wilt thou blow, The small raine down can raine. Cryst, if my love were in my armes And I in my bedde ...
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63 views

Would “aftermath” ever be used to mean “a reaction of crackdown”?

In the context of revolution, there often comes the word "aftermath," usually meaning the bad consequences of a given revolution on the long run. Can I, however, use it to mean the immediate ...
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1answer
83 views

This word doesn't make any sense in this context

Cowley's Poems: But I within me bear alas too great allays. What does this 'allay' mean? This poet says, I wish I could be overheat with praise!, so this man is unhappy. However, allay ...
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89 views

Does this translation make sense? [closed]

I'm trying to translate a piece of my poem which is in Persian into English. I've so far come up with this: And what you see is a bewildering reflection of shadows, leaving the light lost on its ...
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2answers
139 views

Meaning of “It flaming spread” in a Tolkien poem

Tolkien wrote a poem called “Over the misty mountains cold”, which is featured as a song in the first Hobbit movie. In this poem there are those verses that made me scratch my head: The pines were ...
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1answer
158 views

Meaning of “top” in “to sleep as sound as a top”

From "The Early Bird", by George MacDonald. A little bird sat on the edge of her nest; Her yellow-beaks slept as sound as tops; Day-long she had worked almost without rest, And had ...
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1answer
75 views

“Angels fall, they are towers”: what is “towers” here? Froma poem by G.M.Hopkins

From a poem of G. M. Hopkins titled "The Shepherd’s brow, fronting forked lightning, owns": THE SHEPHERD’S brow, fronting forked lightning, owns The horror and the havoc and the glory Of ...
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1answer
104 views

“over his turned temples”, from a poem by G.M.Hopkins

From Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, "The Furl of fresh-leaved dogrose down" Then over his turnèd temples—here— Was a rose, or, failing that, Rough-Robin or five-lipped campion clear ...
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2answers
120 views

“the stir and keep of pride” in G.M.Hopkins' poem

From The Habit of Perfection by Gerard Manley Hopkins: Nostrils, your careless breath that spend Upon the stir and keep of pride, What relish shall the censers send Along the ...
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2answers
91 views

“a truce to sport..” from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

From "A Lazy Day" by Paul Laurence Dunbar: No ripple stirs the placid pool, When my adventurous line is cast, A truce to sport, while clear and cool, The mirrored clouds slide ...
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2answers
85 views

“be in at the end I cannot”, from G.M.Hopkins' poem

There's a great poem by G.M. Hopkins, in which I but vaguely get the meaning of the two last stanzas, stumbling at properly parsing the sentences in my mind. In particular, I don't understand the ...
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1answer
51 views

Being mighty a master, being a father and fond: what “fond” is?

I'm not sure of the meaning of the last word in the last line of G.M. Hopkin's "In the valley of the Elwy": God, lover of souls, swaying considerate scales, Complete thy creature dear O where it ...
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2answers
65 views

“brought some horses, real heelers..” : what is “heeler” here?

I quote from An Evening in Dandaloo (1891) by Banjo Paterson: It was while we held our races -- Hurdles, sprints and steplechases -- Up in Dandaloo, That a crowd of Sydney stealers, Jockeys, ...
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1answer
204 views

What is a long syllable? [closed]

I have to write a 24-line poem in Dactylic Hexameter. I looked up what dactyl meant, and I got this answer on wiki: ...a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables... What is the ...
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Understand Rudyard Kipling's poem If

I came across Rudyard Kipling's poem If, quoted below: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, ...
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340 views

How do we interpret these lines from 'Ulysses'?

What do these lines from Ulysses mean exactly? What is a sinking star? How does the simile work in the first line? This summary calls the phrase ambiguous. To follow knowledge like a sinking star, ...
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2answers
1k views

What does this poem mean? “It's not the cough that'll carry you off It's the coffin they'll carry you off in” [closed]

What does this poem mean? It's not the cough that'll carry you off It's the coffin they'll carry you off in
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2answers
142 views

Meaning of ‘silvan game’ [closed]

Does anybody know the meaning of italicized phrase? Fye upon your name! In wrath, for loss of silvan game, Saint Hilda’s priest ye slew. It's passage from Walter Scott's Marmion, Canto ...
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1answer
112 views

Meaning of “I kissed her for her mother”

I recently re-read E.J. Brady's Down in Honolulu, but this line has stuck out to me: I kissed her for her mother,   I gev' her one, two, three; I squoze her for her brother— ...
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175 views

What meter is best for songs, especially hymns? [closed]

I realize that this may be somewhat open-ended, but although I am not a poet, I want to try my hand at writing a song, perhaps a hymn, and wonder if perhaps iambic pentameter is best, or perhaps ...
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1answer
201 views

What is the meaning of the line “Upon a homely object Love can wink” in this context

What's the meaning of the last line of this extract from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona? Valentine. This is the gentleman I told your ladyship Had come along with me, but that his ...
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570 views

Why are identical rhymes inferior in English poetry?

From “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath: Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses In English poetry, a perfect rhyme has identical vowels but different onsets, like come ...
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1answer
137 views

Is there a technical term for when verbs in a sentence appear as if they have been swapped around? [closed]

Is there a technical term for when verbs in a sentence appear as if they have been swapped around as in the example here? 'her fingers creased in gold [and] her body ringed in folds' In this ...
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559 views

Why present perfect in “When the night has come”?

In the song “Stand by Me”, we see a sentence like “when the night has come.” I was taught that in a when clause, we use the past tense, yet the present perfect has been used in the sentence cited ...
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1answer
553 views

What do you call a poem or song that sets up a rhyme and then ignores it?

Here is a line from the song "Popular" in the musical Wicked. I am trying to explain what we call the anticlimax of the last three lines, where a rhyme is expected but not delivered. When I see ...
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4answers
349 views

What's the word for something that's too direct and plain rather than poetic?

When someone writes poetry that's almost like plain English sentences, what may we call that? Consider this, for example. This is an example of that plain, stated as it is, poetry (completely made ...
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1answer
398 views

Iambic Tetrameter?

God and my right shall me defend. I have said this motto a fair few times in my head a number of times and it seems as though iambic tetrameter is the meter that fits best The way I see it is, ...
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1answer
259 views

Meter in Clare's “I am”

I've determined that almost all of John Clare's "I am" is in iambic pentameter. But I'm having trouble identifying the meter of the following line: But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems My ...
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4answers
203 views

Why is there no article in “The Child is father of the man”?

The Rainbow by William Wordsworth: My heart leaps up when I behold A Rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me ...
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Why don’t we write poetry like Beowulf any longer?

Beowulf, the Old English epic poem, uses a characteristically Germanic style of poetry in which the number of strong beats per line is what counts. Instead of counting syllables, strong beats alone ...
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3answers
346 views

Contexts where a comma means “and”

A comma is commonly used as a short form of the word and in newspaper headlines. In what other contexts is this convention common? This question came to mind as I was trying to parse the following ...
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4answers
685 views

Why is this considered a “romantic” poem? [closed]

In Willam Blake's poem, what makes it a romantic poem? I wandered through each chartered street, Near where the chartered Thames does flow, A mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, ...
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ending a sentence with a preposition [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition? "a soul can sense when it’s being talked to." Does this sound OK? I don't like ending with a preposition, but ...
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473 views

What term describes enjambment alluding to a taboo word?

In the schoolyard rhyme "Miss Susie" the taboo word is spoken aloud, so I'm not sure that it qualifies as a mind rhyme. Likewise, in the case of a subverted rhyme the expected word isn't spoken. I ...
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2answers
121 views

“so death swings open on its hinge” [closed]

There is a passage in the poem "Over" by Carol Ann Duffy that I don't understand well. It is a key, unlocking all the dark, so death swings open on its hinge What is the meaning of the second ...
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1answer
228 views

Should I use period pronunciation when reading poetry aloud? [closed]

I find that when I read older poetry, the rhyme scheme is sometimes broken and I assume that the problem comes from changes in pronunciation over time. For example, Poe keeps up a pretty impressive ...
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160 views

using the word found in a poem [closed]

I have the line: Whereupon the new found its gallows. In this case, could found double as "found having come upon" and "found having outfitted or equipped" and be used without having to used ...
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2answers
418 views

“time and time over” meaning

What does "time and time over" mean ? I encountered this verse in a Philip Larkin poem. they come, they wake us time and time over.
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3answers
208 views

Loathe. The atypical use of the verb [closed]

I have a quick question about the atypical grammar of mine. I am a poet using iambic pentameter. The question is whether the following is grammatically correct: I she loathes. That I loathe. ...
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4answers
295 views

Can bacon or beans suggest some sort of alcohol?

I just read this poem: The Englishman by G.K. Chesterton St George he was for England, And before he killed the dragon He drank a pint of English ale Out of an English flagon. For ...
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605 views

Difference between “dawn” and “realize”

I encountered a word dawn and I have a feeling I understood the meaning in context. For example, 1) It dawned on him that she had loved him. means 2) It entered his consciousness that she ...