Metre (3)

Poet David Brayley has added his thoughts on metre. He writes:

Metre is the scaffolding that supports a poem, and I think it’s always there, however regular or irregular. Maybe what puts poets off metre is hackneyed use of the regular—bitter memories of poems they were forced to memorize as children. Memorize, but not appreciate.

Metre doubles its effectiveness when combined with Surprise. For example, almost-regular metre—in sprung rhythm:

         Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

         And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

                   FromPied Beauty”, Gerard Manley Hopkins

Which is like syncopation in jazz: the ear expects a beat, and it comes—when not expected.

Or, another example, regular metre with irregular line lengths as in:

         Do I dare

         Disturb the universe?

         In a minute there is time

         For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

                   From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, T. S. Eliot

A poet can’t not use metre—can only choose to be unaware of it. Why not use it to surprise?