Time restrictions


Writing while caring for a baby is tough.  Even with the best will in the world, you fail. Put simply, there is what you want to do, and then there is baby wants to do. Pretty soon what baby wants becomes a priority, especially if he seems intent on ticking major concussion off his bucket list.

Revision: I  have decided to make a change. Instead of trying to write every day, I will write once a week minimum.

Goals: I will post material on metaphor, simile, metonymy, and synedoche for the next two months.




Anaphora 21: The Good-Morrow by Donne



In short, two lovers, the morning after, contemplate what they were before they met.  I will focus on the use of anaphora in the section below, as well as the twelve syllable lines that end each stanza.


the good morrow.JPG


In anaphora, we expand outwards imagery-wise from sea-discoverers to maps to the new world/new worlds/ the world, while contracting inwardly metaphorically into the subjective reality each lover contains.

I can’t think of much to say without repeating myself, so I will focus on the odd 12 syllable line that ends each stanza. Why 12 syllables? It breaks the steady flow of iambic, and it’s so ungainly. Why?  Well, to me, it suggests a determination on the part of the narrator to clarify what he is saying with each successive phrase. Also, it places greater emphasis on the end rhyme: thee, one, and die. Now, off to record it the best I can.


I hope this is a help to someone. As you can see from this commentary, I am not a lit major, nor will ever be, but I enjoy engaging with poetry and learning from it. Thanks for reading.



Anaphora 19: Sonnet 66

sonnet 66

Taken at face value, sonnet 66 lists a grim litany of injustice that makes the narrator wish he were dead. Only concern for his true love makes him stay rather than choose death and desert her to fate.

In precís it sounds depressing:  life is unjust but if I die you will be alone.

But the sound and language play stop it from being a dirge: alliteration (needy nothing, beggar born); assonance (folly, doctor-like, controlling); the personification of abstracts with verb or noun (gilded honor, right perfection); the way the aforementioned nouns are made real with colourful verbs and adverbs (unhappily forsworn, rudely strumpeted, wrongfully disgraced, folly controlling skill); and of course, the play of opposites as each vice becomes a virtue, or vice versa. The effect is like being party to a scene from a painting by Bosch, or a carnival of human life.


Anaphora’s ‘and’ ,for example, makes the main body of the poem one long run-on line which adds on woe after woe frenetically.

Granted, in the final couplet there is a change in tone as the full end rhyme of the previous lines becomes half-rhyme (gone, alone), and the anaphora of the previous 10 lines with its assured iambic first foot returns to the modifying prepositional phrase and trochaic first foot of the first line.

But overall, I think it is not meant to be taken seriously, and that the hand-wringing at the end is a concession to the audience’s expectations of the closing couplet.

Anaphora 18: Firework


The repetition of a word or phrase is very popular in song lyrics because of its inherent musicality. In the Katy Perry song, Firework, she repeats the phrase, ‘do you ever feel‘ in the first two stanzas:

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep six feet under?
Screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you?

The repetition of  the phrase followed by a negative image has a cumulative effect: you feel bad, you feel bad, you feel bad, you feel bad. So, when the anaphoric line changes to ‘do you ever know’, we are clued in that a change is coming in the song, and sure enough it becomes more upbeat, and the stanzas that follow offer consolation. In short, the balm the song offers makes more sense because of its initial focus on the ailment: lack of self-esteem, isolation, loneliness.







New Year’s Eve resolutions

Get published in two magazines:

  1. Submit a batch of three poems to a magazine every two months. (Three is the minimum most places will accept. Three poems a month is too much for me, if I also want to edit thoroughly.)
  2. Keep a metaphor notebook, and make entries every day.
  3. Publish 3-4 entries on rhetorical forms, or poetic technique every week on this blog.

Chiasmus 16: phonemes and poetry

In his essay, ‘The ways of the possible: a textual analysis of “gifts of rain” by Seamus Heaney,’ Adolphe Haberer analyses instances of chiasmus in the poem at the phonological level.


I will focus on one line (the first) for the sake of time, and break it up as he does phonetically to reveal the pattern beneath:

“Cloudburst and steady downpour now”


A: kl d
B: b st
B: st d
A: d n

or aʊ st st aʊ.