Eyes Open

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub – Meeting The Bar-Critique and Craft:  Polypoton
(posted by Frank Hubeny)

“The challenge for the next two days is to use a polyptoton somewhere in your poem. Outside of keeping the poem under 200 words, which is just to limit the size of the entries, there are no other constraints.”

Polyptoton is a rhetorical device used for style and persuasiveness. It is a special kind of repetition where the common base of a word is repeated, but not the whole word exactly.

One example of this is “I dreamed a dream.” Others would be “a song unsung” or “life worth living”.

In the first example, the words “dreamed” and “dream” are not the same, but they are very similar. It might seem odd for someone to not start telling us what the dream was about after saying “I dreamed”. Instead of telling us about the dream, all we get is “a dream”. On one level this is not satisfying, however, this repetition does emphasize the unreality of what one dreamed. It was just a dream. The near repetition also adds a potentially pleasing aural experience much like alliteration, assonance and rhyme. As a stylistic device it focuses the reader’s or listener’s attention on what should be important in the message.”

Embattled people of the country refuse
to go into battle any more. It seems
like citizens wakened from a coma. The
freezer had defrosted, and clear
thinking is once again running
freely.  Remove him! they cry.  He thinks
he is legally above all laws.
He has absolute power, which will
eventually corrupt absolutely,
voice voters. They begin to speak
up, protest as a nation nationally.
This time they will be heard.
The world is on the brink
of a cliff, dangling, and Mother
Nature is not at all pleased.


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.
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19 Responses to Eyes Open

  1. Frank Hubeny says:

    Nice use in the first two lines of the polyptoton on “battle”. The repetition reinforces the message.


  2. Rob Kistner says:

    Interestingi approach to the polyptoton here Sara — I enjoyed this, 🙂


  3. rothpoetry says:

    Very nice use of the prompt through out your poem!


  4. Terrific! So many political responses this week but the polyptoton seems to invite them … as too does the state of the nation, I suppose. I like that the freezer has defrosted line – things have certainly heated up.


  5. Alas.. the few in the swing states will decide and he will remain.


  6. Beverly Crawford says:

    I do so hope you’re correct and the voices of common sense will be heard.


  7. msjadeli says:

    As I read through this it had the feel of a princess under an enchantment that awakened with the kiss of a prince. I’m not sure what the tipping point was, but things have tipped, and you expressed it well here, Sara.


  8. memadtwo says:

    Let’s hope you’re correct! (K)


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