If I Could

Written for:  dVerse Poets – Meeting The Bar:  Common Meter  (posted by Frank Hubeny)

A popular form used for poems, songs, nursery rhymes and ballads is common meter. It subdivides into many variations depending on where one puts the line breaks or end-rhymes and how one combines lines into stanzas, but its most basic structure is the repetition of seven pairs of unaccented-accented syllables which form an iambic, rhythmic pattern that is familiar and pleasurable to many listeners.

An example of common meter is Sarah Josepha Hale’s nursery rhyme about Mary and her lamb. I have highlighted the accented syllables and split multi-syllabic words with hyphens to illustrate the rhythmic pattern in the first stanza. Additional stanzas and a more traditional formatting may be viewed at the Poetry Foundation website:

MA-ry HAD a LIT-tle LAMB, its FLEECE was WHITE as SNOW;
and E-very-WHERE that MA-ry WENT the LAMB was SURE to GO.

Write a poem using common meter as its core structure. Think of it as a poem that will be heard rather than seen.

If I could sing a bluesy tune inside a small café,
my choice would be to sing in style of Billie Holiday.
A melody of love and loss would cause their eyes to tear.
Alas, it’s just a dream, because I have that old tin ear.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
This entry was posted in Purple's Home and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to If I Could

  1. frankhubeny says:

    Perfect meter and rhyme.

    I can’t sing either. That’s probably a good thing. It would mean that other people would have to help me if it were going to be done right and we would make the song together.


  2. Grace says:

    Sing a bluesy tune anyway, smiles

    Lovely beat to your verses Sara. A delight to listen to as well.


  3. Oh yes I would love to sing as well…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is wonderful! Who cares if you can’t sing — you can write poetry and that’s just as great. I try to keep my singing to the car when no one else is with me. 🙂


  5. MYRNA ZACH says:

    it is inherited



  6. lillian says:

    You nailed it and I’m sitting here with my morning cup and a grin on my face! 😊
    PS – LOVE Billie! ❤


Comments are closed.