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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How iambic poetically are you?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26783points) June 29th, 2011

Would you take the challenge to free your mind?
To create a poem and do it fine?
In iambic pentameter to use.
Subject matter is all but yours to muse.

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37 Answers

Blondesjon's avatar

Folks say I have a problem with a drink.
One that’s so goddamned fine.
There’s no problem with a beer or twelve.
Hey liver, stop your cryin’.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Politicians’ words are mighty fine,
but they give to you what’s really mine.
I wish that they would do some time,
Levenworth would be just fine!

[ I know! I know! So sue me! LOL! ]

iphigeneia's avatar

Well, this is the best I could come up with at such short notice. A quatrain in iambic pentameter. It’s a lot more, um, sensual than I had intended to make it.

I watch your tender fingers up and down
The keys, like they are playing on my spine:
Cold water dripping on my back, and deep
Within my flesh the music roars and sighs.

bunnygrl's avatar

Light of my life, keeper of my heart
after 30 years I still ache when we part
I love you today, I’ll love you tomorrow
in the warmth of your arms I found solace from sorrow.

for my hubby who makes every day worth waking up for , there I’ve gone and went all mushy now…..

CaptainHarley's avatar


Awww! Never apologize for love. Love is its own justification. : ))

Coloma's avatar

If I were really, truly, missing
vanished without a trace
would you mourn me, would you miss me
or raise your glass, sky high while pissing?

bunnygrl's avatar

<hugs @CaptainHarley> thank you xx

bunnygrl's avatar

<throws @CaptainHarley more hugs> I’m always happy to accept a smile or a hug :-))

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Blondesjon Innovative and witty, and almost iambic pentameter, the quatrain just missed by a few box cars. :-)

@CaptainHarley I liked that, thought it was the most witty. Like @Blondesjon the quatrain was close to the cup, but didn’t quite drop in. ;-)

@iphigeneia Huston, we have a quatrain, and quite poetic sounding from what best I know of poems. :-)

@bunnygrl Those were really sweet words. Like the Captain, the putt made it on the green but just short of the cup, but still very nice. :-)

bunnygrl's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central you should see the inspiration I have. Right now he’s in an armchair across from me, happily sitting through a sex and the city episode because I’m watching it lol. How devoted is that?
huggles honey xx

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

To sit through 20 sec. of “Sex In The City” shows a great amount of dedication, the poor fellow

gailcalled's avatar


Speaking of almost iambic pentameter, since we’re apparently allowed to be critical;

Would you take (anapest) the challenge (- a rarely used metrical form called “bacchius_ to free your mind?
To create (anapest) a poem and do it fine?
In iambic pentameter to use. (hard to find a plausible scansion here)
Subject (spondee) matter (trochee-) is all but yours to muse.

None of these lines are strictly iambs, and only the last is strictly pentameter.
And the contortions needed to make the end rhymes is not poetry but gymnastics, I am sorry to say.

Here’s how Keats did it.

’ / ’ / ’ / ’ / ’ /
To swell the gourd, and plump the ha- zel shells

And Shakespeare:

ba-BUM / ba-BUM / ba-BUM / ba-BUM / ba-BUM

If mu- / -sic be / the food / of love, / play on

gailcalled's avatar

@iphigeneia: Yours is the only exact example of iambic pentameter here.

“Hats off,” I say, to one who got it right.
It’s hard to keep the beat without a fight
With words that seem to march along in line
And then, change course and turn out not-so-fine.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I may not have the exact ear to hear the stress in every syllable I did get the right number of syllables. However if you are more enlightened to the style than the rest of us you should have no problem providing your creation, you didn’t actually say who was the author if the example you gave.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Actually, I’ve sat through some of what I considered to be really awful movies because my love was there and I just wanted t be near her. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. : ))

gailcalled's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: Ah, but I did. “Hats off,” I say.

It’s is not a question of enlightenment, is it? You ask for iambic pentameter; it has a rigorous format. Short LONG, short LONG, short LONG, short LONG, short LONG.

There is no deviation; poetic meter and form require meticulousness. If you count syllables, you are talking about an entirely different form of poetry and one that rarely works in English. Don’t gloss over what is very complicated language. It is like trying to write music without using the traditional staffs, clefs and annotation.

Be a gentleman and take your licks graciously.

And then enjoy reading Paul Fussell’s Poetic Meter and Poetic Form

“This book is a classic of prosodic exposition. (And understand, when I call a book a classic, I am not just lapsing into a cliche; it really IS a classic.) Fussell shows us the relations between form and content, between rhyme and rhythm on the one hand and the function of these formal devices to illuminate meaning on the other.

This book also devotes a chapter to empirical observations on the properties of free verse, and it includes a concise bibliography of other works on prosody. Highly recommended.” Amazon review

Coloma's avatar


Ordering now! Oh Amazon, how I love thee! I might have to compose a poem about maggots, haha

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma: Here’s a start:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art less lovely and less temperate:

Blondesjon's avatar

@gailcalled . . . god i love it when you talk dirty . . .

CunningLinguist's avatar

They say we need an iamb at this time—
And not just one, but five for every line.
But will this guarantee a perfect rhyme,
Or even give us all a chance to shine?

It’s not that this is not a worthy task,
Or that I doubt the value of things past.
Yet still I find I cannot help but ask:
How many more great works can this mold cast?

gailcalled's avatar


You make a decent point about the past.
A verse is only words we hope will last.
But meter, form and rhythm keep us free
To learn the style and thus the melody.

CunningLinguist's avatar

I do not mean to denigrate the form,
Nor would I fail to study it at length.
Yet where I think it finds its greatest strength
Is when it’s one of many—not the norm.

And so I question while I do the deed,
Participant and interlocutor.
But let no one mistakenly infer:
On meter, form, and rhythm we’re agreed.

bunnygrl's avatar

@CaptainHarley your wife is a very lucky woman, and I say this as a very lucky lassie myself. I hope you know what a special man you are. I’ve always thought that we hear too much about men who walk out on their wives/families, duck their responsibilities in life, but how often do we hear anyone say “yeah.. that guy… he’s great, I wish more men were made like that.” Far too rarely unfortuanately.

So, lets hear it for the decent men in this world, and there are many I’m sure, but they don’t go around looking for praise for doing what they do. Loving and looking after their wives and families, being a support whenever needed, always there with a hug, or ready to listen when a problem needs sharing, and yes….watching something they’d normally run in the opposite direction of just to keep their soul mate company :-) For women everywhere who are blessed to have such a man in their lives.. thank you guys, we do know how lucky we are <hugs> xx

bunnygrl's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central LOL yep, Sex and the City is “chick flick” for tv and I do appreciate him for it, I really do.

gailcalled's avatar

@CunningLinguist: Participant and interlocutor.

That’s a mini-masterpiece. Welcome to fluther. Do stay a while and join us (we few, we happy few) in protecting and honoring the language.

—-Too busy at present to check the meter.—

CaptainHarley's avatar


Awww! How very kind and sweet you are. Your hubby is a very lucky man, I think.

Vicky and I, each of us, had to go through 7 different sorts of hell and ½ of Georgia to be worthy of each other, and to be able to truly appreciate each other’s love. Only those who suffer feel love as a type of sweet, delightful pain.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@bunnygrl At least it is still better then the “Vampire Diaries”, and “One Tree Hill”, just saying them makes me want to shower…..

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Even though this is in Social, let’s try to stick to the actual topic, folks.


I shine my shoes with Kiwi wax
In hopes of catching some young gal’s eye
But when the leather turns dull and lax
The fire in me fizzles and dies :(

gailcalled's avatar


Your first line is perfect iambic tetrameter (four feet)
After that you have combined iambs, a spondee, some trochees, dactyls and anapests.


@gailcalled I never did care much for following rules. Lol.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I take a ding more than you’ll ever know.
Find me against darts, and withstand the blows.

No one to see a win for me inspired.
No matter what to seek my lose desired.

No matter if I shoot for a feminine ending or inversion there will be someone there to try and knock me down, HA!

gailcalled's avatar

I never shy away from a good debate of you have an argument that has legs and you can support it with logic or unflappable fact.

First line is iambic pentameter, although a bit forced;
Second line starts with an iamb, than sneaks in “against darts”, da da DUM, (anapest). It’s hard to define the “and” metrically and still use “withstand the blows” as two iambs.

LInes three and four are iambic pentameter but don’t make sense. What does, for example, “to seek my lose desired” mean?

And meter and form have nothing to do with either feminine endings or inversions.

@MRSHINYSHOES: No one says that you have to follow any rules; just don’t drive up in the Toyota and tell me it’s a Buick.


@gailcalled A rose is a rose is a rose. A Toyota and a Buick are both cars that do the same thing. It’s just their looks and the names that make them different. The best poetry is poetry without rules or how people like to name it, categorize it with meters, feet, patterns, yeech. I think that’s the thing that I hate most about poetry, the way people think it should be. That’s why it’s such a bore to learn in college, when you get these old stuff-shirts telling students “you got to write it according to the correct iambic pentameter!” Takes the real fun and beauty out of poetry.

CunningLinguist's avatar


I do not think that anyone has said
You must use iambs anytime you write.
It’s just a rule that holds for this one thread.
I take it that you read the title—right?

gailcalled's avatar

It’s such a bore to follow every rule
Toyota, Buick,’s all cool.
Who needs an engineer to build the dam?
It didn’t hold? Who cares? It’s just a scam.

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