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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

23
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the rules in composing a Haiku? (aside from the syllable count)

Aside from the syllable count what else do I need consider when writing a Haiku? I'm referring to the English imitation of a Haiku. I have been told that the first two lines should be descriptions ...
13
votes
2answers
497 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the grave accent mark on words mean?

What exactly does the grave accent mean in English? An example from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30: The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan
10
votes
5answers
721 views

What does “trostle” mean?

In the poem Pi, by Wislawa Szymborska, there is this line: in which we find how blithe the trostle sings! A Google search for trostle turns up a few hits, mostly as people's last names. Urban ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

I recently read the beautiful poem by Samuel Coleridge. Why did he call it a rime? I looked up rime on the dictionary, and it means a thin layer of ice; so was the name playing around with the rhyme ...
9
votes
1answer
343 views

What's the point of omitting the “e”, as in “sceptered” going to “scepter'd”, in English poetry?

These are a few of my favorite lines of Shakespearean poetry: Methinks I am a prophet new inspir’d, And thus expiring do foretell of him: His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last, For ...
9
votes
1answer
669 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
10k views

What is the difference between a “stanza” and a “verse”, as applied to English literature?

What is the difference between 'stanza' and 'verse' in English Literature (Poetry)? I've read one of my classmate's essays and the word 'verse' cropped up - I thought that the word 'verse' was usually ...
8
votes
3answers
656 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “pole to pole” here?

In the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley (Youtube) I failed to grasp the meaning of the line "black as the pit from pole to pole": Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from ...
8
votes
7answers
780 views

Term for poetry that mimics what it describes

I'm blanking on the term for when a verse mimics that which it describes - for example, a poem talking about a confusing encounter would become confusing itself - each time I search for it I keep ...
7
votes
4answers
10k views

“The world forgetting, by the world forgot.”

This is from Alexander Pope's Eloisa to Abelard, also appeared in the movie Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind(2004). Could anyone parse this sentence for me? Where's the predicate? What does "the ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

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, ...
6
votes
1answer
600 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
706 views

Meaning of “The most I ever did for you, was to outlive you, / But that is much”

What did the poet mean by the following lines? The most I ever did for you, was to outlive you, But that is much. — Edna St. Vincent Millay I am not able to understand the meaning ...
5
votes
2answers
354 views

Sing Song - nursery poem definitions

My wife was reading me this poem for our kids' homeschool A city plum is not a plum; A dumb-bell is no bell, though dumb; A statesman's rat is not a rat; A sailor's cat is not a cat; A soldier's ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this an example of litotes?

In Macbeth's Tomorrow speech To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

What do you call the “narrator” of lyric poem?

In a narrative poem, the entity telling the story is called the narrator. The narrator is different from the author, in that the author is the real person who wrote the poem, while the narrator is a ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

Human Face Divine

I recently read that there is a grammatical construct known as a Miltonic Structure, after John Milton. It said that the structure consists of an adjective + noun + adjective, like "human face divine" ...
4
votes
5answers
701 views

What does “high” add to the meaning of this sentence of Tagore's poem?

Do not seat your love upon a precipice because it is high. What is the meaning of the word high in this sentence?
4
votes
3answers
261 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
656 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
169 views

Older pronunciations of the “-ity” suffix [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Rhyming conventions of Early Modern English Andrew Marvell's poem To His Coy Mistress from the mid-1600's follows an AABBCCDD[...] rhyming pattern. Therefore, it is ...
3
votes
3answers
289 views

How to understand these verses from the poem “The road not taken” by Robert Frost

I actually have two questions regarding this poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, ...
3
votes
2answers
173 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
379 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

“Poems” or “poetry”

Can poems and poetry be used interchangeably, or is that incorrect usage? In normal conversation, they are used as synonyms often.
3
votes
5answers
160 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." ...
3
votes
4answers
339 views

Is cruel standard use as a noun in poetry? Are there terms for non-standard English specifically in regard to use in poetry?

I hope this question isn't off-topic. I heard a madrigal with the following verse which bothers me somewhat, grammatically. Cruel, wilt thou persever? Peace to leave ever? Peace shalt thou have and ...
3
votes
2answers
142 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
496 views

Is there a “correct” way to perform scansion in poetry?

Is there a foolproof or "rigorous" way to accurately and repeatably perform scansion in English poetry? It seems highly subjective at times. For example, I can pretty easily grasp the iambic ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

Term for poems structured by repetitive devices

Terms such as "blank verse", "free verse" and "heroic couplet" are used to refer to poems with particular forms. I am curious to know whether there exists a term for poems that are strongly ...
2
votes
3answers
642 views

Is “e'er” a true English word?

Are poetic contractions, such as "e'er", "o'er" and "ne'er" (and other less common ones), English? As in officially recognized?
2
votes
2answers
530 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
310 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
238 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
303 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

Changed upon the blue guitar?

I had seen the following excerpt from this poem in a rhetoric workbook a while ago as an example of a word construction: They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." ...
2
votes
1answer
654 views

What does “And she promises the earth to me…” mean?

I like the famous song. But I can't understand what does "to promise the earth" mean. Does she want to give the Earth to him? I suspect native English speakers find it a strange question. Maybe I ...
2
votes
3answers
218 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

How does one tell the difference between long and short syllables?

Currently in the process of playing with Limericks and the meter they use usually requires a meter of long followed by two short syllables or vice versa. My question, how do you differentiate? Is it ...
2
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
90 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
118 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— ...
2
votes
2answers
511 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.
2
votes
2answers
69 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, ...
2
votes
4answers
17k views

Difference between meter and rhythm in poetry

What is the difference between meter and rhythm in poetry? The explanations found from googling were highly confusing.
2
votes
2answers
548 views

Syntax in poetry

Could you please explain why the syntax in the following stanza is wrong? Surrounded by that sturdy assertiveness that walled England the din of traffic in my mind quietens,
2
votes
2answers
123 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 ...