Home > Fiction, Lessons, Novel > Iambic Pentameter is Hard

Iambic Pentameter is Hard

After about an hour or work, I wrote this today:

A cardinal- of ends and life doth warn,

His worldly worries done are they for now,

So sit not lightly on your deathly bough,

And carry on this soul to its new morn.

And… it’s garbage, really. How did Shakespeare write entire plays in this form? I can wrap my head around da-DUM, da-DUM. and I can find it when I read it, but to put it into practice while also making it make any sense, is an impressive feat. And I’m not even playing with the form as Shakespeare, Donne, and their contemporaries did. I just want four lines of vanilla five foot iambic.

I will leave it as is and dream about it and likely erase it all and start again. For four lines. I only thought I respected poets before. Maybe that’s why modern poets live William Carlos Williams, because he freed us from the hegemony of the iambic. Maybe I like him a little bit more now, too.

And yes, I just used hegemony and iambic in the same sentence. This is what you get when you cross an English and an International Affairs degree- polysyllabic, masturbatory gibberish.

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