Playing With Pentameter

We’ve looked deeply into the realm of iambic tetrameter. It’s natural flow makes for great story telling. But what other measures of poetry await our investigation? In deciding what to delve into next, I’ve opted for numerical sequence.

Iambic pentameter is a line of verse made up of five metrical feet, following the unstressed, stressed pattern. This is the most commonly used form of meter in English poetry. William Shakespeare utilized iambic pentameter for his plays and sonnets. Blank verse, the heroic couplet, and traditional rhymes stanzas use this format as well. Here’s a link that explains that quite well:

From the link you will find there are other forms that utilize pentameter. It’s always fascinated me how poetry comes on so many forms. Here’s a sonnet centering on Beowulf and his disgust over Hrunting’s uselessness during the fight with Grendel’s mother.

This sword that Unferth gave unto my keep
Is useless as a feather in a fight
No need for Hrunting as it seems to sleep
Against the gnash of Grendel’s mother’s bite
Alas, I took the weapon in good trust
Believing Unferth knew its strength in arms
However it has failed me in each thrust
The she-wolf has protection from her charms
Perhaps the blade there hanging on the wall
A remnant of Goliath and his kind
Enlisted in my hands shall make her fall
Releasing Grendel’s mother from the bind
Of life as she will join her son in death
And victory will squeeze her final breath

We’ll look deeper at the format next week. Until then, happy writing!



Author: JamesMatthewByers

James Matthew Byers resides in Odenville, Alabama. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master's in 2010. His epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, is out from by Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. Mr. Byers is published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and eZines. He has also won numerous poetry contests for the Alabama State Poetry Society.

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