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 structured by means of repetitive poetical devices such as anaphora, epistrophes and parallelisms. A good example is Tolkien's "Ring Verse":

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Another example comes from the lyrics of the song "Last Quest" by the band Kerion:

Far away beyond the hills
Far away over the rivers
Far away this magical journey
Ride with me under the moonlight
Ride with me across the trees
Ride with me in green valleys where the sun shows all its light

  • There may be a special poetic term for it. But in a wider context that includes poetry, it's called "Parallel Structure" and it's a very powerful device because it can make things easier to understand. And in a poem, it's especially powerful, because the repetition-in-context repeats sounds as well as meanings, like a recurring phonosemantic theme. Jun 1, 2014 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


Although I believe your examples also do fall into categories of poems that are unrelated to this thread, what we have here are examples of Parallel Structure. By repeating the same grammatical structure, we aggregate layers of meaning.

The over-arching form Far way / Ride with me imbues both triplets with a symmetrical context. Within each half, the 3x repeated phrase acquires weight in our mind, pushing the emphasis towards the 3x parallel ideas beyond the hills / over the rivers / this magical journey. And here the double parallel structure also implies a secondary matrix of meanings, Far away across the trees / Ride with me beyond the hills, etc.

  • Thank you @JohnLawler and outrightmental for the comment and answer. I read up more about parallel structure and I realized that parallelism as a poetic device has a wider meaning than I previously thought. (It is not limited to parallel grammatical structures.) P.S. I discovered a delightful little book (published in 1894) that other people who want to learn more about parallel structure might also find useful: "Repetition and parallelism in English verse; a study in the technique of poetry", which is available at archive.org.
    – j_s
    Jun 11, 2014 at 23:34

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