- Patterned repetition of stressed and unstressed sullables in a line of poetry. Any of the first four listed below--anapestic, dactylic, iambic, and trochaic--may predominate in a given poem: in a poem written in anapestic verse, for example, the majority of the feet will be anapestic. The poet may also choose to vary the meter (to create emphasis and variety). In doing so, the poet may make use of the remaining two kinds of meter--pyrrhic and spondaic--which, by their very nature, rarely predominate in a poem. Generally, pyrrhic feet speed a poem up, while spondaic feet slow a poem down.
Anapestic. A meter composed of feet that are short-short-long (or unaccented-unaccented-accented): afternoon, in a tree. Often, anapestic meter occurs in light verse (such as limericks).
- "A tutor who tooted the flute / Tried to teach two young tooters to toot."
- "Long long ago when the world was a wild place / Planted with bushes and peopled by apes, our / Mission Brigade was at work in the jungle. . . " --George MacBeth, "Bedtime Story"
- "That time of the year thou mayst in me behold / When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang / Upon those boughs which shake against the cold . . . " --William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73
- "Come with rain, O loud Southwester! / Bring the singer, bring the nester . . ." --Robert Frost, "To the Thawing Wind "
Spondaic. A foot in which both syllables are stressed: taut skin.
- "It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?" --Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur"
(Here the first line is mostly iambic, while the second line is mostly or entirely spondaic.)
- metonomy–substituting a word naming an object for another word closely associated with it. EX: Pay tribute to the crown; figure of speech in which a word represents something else which it suggests. For example in a herd of fifty cows, the herd might be referred to as fifty head of cattle. The word "head" is the word representing the herd.