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Meter Examples


from a poetry workshop taught by Millie Niss

1) Trochaic Octameter

Atavistic fluctuations mediate the seltzer war
Cuban drags queens stack tomatoes (used as weapons) on the floor

Kangaroos, St. Mary's pews illuminate the Bering Strait
Boiling pitch and purple kitsch have left me in a parlous state

Life and fiction, contradiction mix and match the cabbage patch
(Not the doll -- I mean the garden -- where the snails and pigeons hatch)

Liquid books and darning hooks dissect diseases of the soul
Someone catch me! I'm dissolving, falling through the rabbit's hole!


2) Anapestic Trimeter

let me be, I don't care that I'm drunk
and insane wearing a green and pink
miniskirt in a bar on the bar
dancing mad, shaking legs, tempting all
sailors and soldiers and CPAs
who collude slyly to feed me beer
so that I'll sleep with them with no more
underwear, dignity, credit cards--
but with a dread disease: pregnancy,
syphilis, loss of job, loss of face
alcohol poisoning, leprosy...
nonetheless, let me be, I'm in charge
of my life: no one can tell me to
change my ways, go to church, join AA,
be a nun, get a bun, start to bowl
I am fine just the way that I am
don't stop me right when I'm having fun!


3) Anapestic Monometer

Going on
with such dread
and fatigue
is much more
than my flesh
can endure
So that now
I should end
it for once
Finally,
totally:
I'll be free


5) Iambic dimeter

I am at last
appearing now
before you: See!
I'm just a man
it was pretend,
the wizard thing.
I was a con.
I'm just a ham.
So Dorothy
I cannot send
you home again
I have no skill
at magical
transporting, so
you must stay here
and marry some
nice munchkin lad
you'll have a kid
whose medium
in height and has
a squeaky voice
and dances and
sings kitschy songs
But don't despair
a life inside
a classic film
is not so bad
You killed the witch.
We are now free.
The land of Oz
will be for you
not paradise
but better than
a Kansas mired
in the dust-bowl
with Auntie Em
who doesn't care
about you much
though she does say
she loves you, on
those rare times when
you faint and hit
your head because
a cyclone comes
and you are caught
inside the house
when others flee
to cellars where
they're safe and sound
So stay with us
Dear Dorothy
you can become
a Queen some day
and not some drunk
and all strung-out--
a movie star
that only gay men
do worship, since
it's oh so, so
very baroque
and even they
know well enough
to take it with
a grain of salt
for they have taste
though different from
the fashions which
in Kansas rule
so Dorothy
you'll be fine here
I'm sorry that
you traveled far
along that ill
maintained brick road
of yellow hue
I ordered them
to have it paved
with new concrete
but councilmen
with minds bent on
the landmark law
wouldn't have it done
and so we're stuck
with state highways
that go through lands
I wouldn't trust
my daughter in
though fine tin men,
a good scarecrow
and lions that
are cowardly
do manage to
live there in peace
although they lack
some body parts
there is an end,
a moral to
your tale of woe
but I don't like
to make good tales
end on a pall
because the brave
adventures turn
out to be just
the dreams of some
plain sleeping girl
who lives inside
completely drab
uninteresting
surroundings which
can only be
rendered in black
and white because
to decorate
them using bright
rich hues would make
them look unreal
because you see
reality
is hard to catch
on celluloid
so let me say
it once for all:
THE LAND OF OZ
IS REAL, NOT FAKE
and anyone
can come here if
they sing sad songs
by spinning wheels
about a land
above the stars
beyond the rain-
bow and the clouds.
Come one, come all
to OZ where you
can live a life
where Glinda comes
to rescue you
from any woes
and people sing
and life is free