Thursday, April 22, 2010

NaPoWriMo #15: meter

The reason the thought of writing a sonnet practically gave me shingles is I'm not very good at meter. Pretty much anything having to do with rhythm (singing, dancing, etc.) is a challenge for me; I have to practice over and over until I know it well enough to do it in my sleep, but it never feels completely natural for me.

So, I thought I'd make myself stretch a bit by looking at different forms and trying something new. I checked out, which has a great glossary of poetic terms, including those referring to meter. I was rather intrigued by tetrameter, which is a meter with four "feet" (stressed syllables), particularly dactylic tetrameter, which is the meter used in the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

As I was reading over the Beatles' lyrics, a phrase popped out at me, reminding me of Audrey. Earlier today she was running around the house with two cheap plastic kaleidoscopes, a pink one and a red one, held up to each eye. Ah, unexpected inspiration!

I liked how as I wrote the poem, the alliteration seemed to come together naturally with the sing-song meter. I don't know if it comes across, but the more I wrote, the words just seemed to spin around faster and faster (because of the rhythm), imitating the effect of the kaleidoscope. Nice!

The only trick I really struggled with was how to end a poem with two unstressed syllables, because I couldn't find any guidelines for specific forms using this meter. So I improvised; I just ended it on the last stressed syllable, which happened to be where the rhyme scheme ended.


She is my child with kaleidoscope eyes and I
see no escape from her rose-colored whys but I
want no reprieve from her red and pink gaze as she
multiplies me, makes me move in new ways, what does
this, why does that, with a twist and a turn, then she
spins and she swirls, and I suddenly learn how I
never knew half what I thought that I knew, but the
dear ways she does it, I’m glad that it’s true, so I
hold to her tight, and just watch what unfurls, she’s my
rose-colored, pink-red kaleidoscope girl.


John and Chantalle said...

Katie, I love it. I know I have told you I am not real big on poetry but I love this poem. It literally "sings" to me.

chicklegirl said...

Oh, thank you! It does that for me, too, especially when I read it out loud.

Dyann said...

this may be one of my favorites so far. I love the rhythym, the alliteration, the no periods, the unfurling, the musicality...and I can feel the spinning.

Darcy Stringer said...

I'm not much for poems like Chantalle, but I do love this one about Audrey. I can hear and visualize my own kids as I remember them being so young and free. Fantastic job.