May I show you this, my room, in oil relief,
Where thalophymine walls surround and hedge,
A brown field leading around my oaken bed:
A sanctuary devoid of gloom and grief.
Note: only blocks of color may be seen.
I shun all hidden depths wherein I find,
Souls like mine embark on sad decline.
From falsities I set my spirit free.
Acceptable; the elemental things.
I paint in the way a soul can feel some trust,
Leave-off with policy and money-lust:
Those corrupting, dark-cast shadows. Give me wings.
To you I offer this, a pure endeavor:
My fettle room in flat and fulsome color
Excluding the sonnets, which are short and in stanzaic form, most of the poems from the past are very long, some are even book-length. When the Industrial Revolution arrived in the 19th century, a group of poets, in reaction to the impersonal nature of the time, began writing shorter lyrical poems. These poets longed for an earlier time; the simpler, more romantic days. These were the Romantic poets and Romanticism began to hold sway. The poems became songlike and of a personal nature. This time also marked the advent of free verse.
While iambic pentameter form was still used, it was more likely to be found in shorter poems and in sonnets as well as some set forms such the sestina. The poems of the Romantic Age were written in a variety of meters and feet, or, as in the case of free verse, without concern for either.
The Trochee is the name given to the foot that does the opposite job of the iambic foot. While the iambic foot is a two syllable rising foot soft/ hard, the trochee is a two slyllable falling foot : hard/ soft. According to Wikipedia “It is a foot used in formal poetry consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one. Trochee comes from the Greek trokhos, wheel, and khoros, dance; both conveying the “rolling” rhythm of this metrical foot.”
The trochee is often used as a substituted foot in iambic pentameter lines, often replacing the first iambic foot. I’ll go into “substituted feet” later on.
I used the heart beat as an example for the sound of the iambic foot; the iambic foot sounding like “lub dub.” For clarity, most books on meter usually say “da dum.” The trochee is the exact opposite of the iamb. It has two syllables per foot just like an iamb, but as said before, instead of rising from soft to hard, it falls from hard to soft, or dum da: /- .
An example of a trochaic metered poem might be Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha, which is written almost entirely in trochees. There are other kinds of feet throughout the poem, but the dominant foot is the trochee, thus it qualifies as a trochaic poem.
This trochaic poem, The Song of Hiawatha, happens to be written in tetrameter (four foot beat).
Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odours of the forest
With the dew and damp of meadows.
1. /- 2. /- 3. /- 4. /-
Several other examples of the trochaic poems would be Shakespeare’s:
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Many children’s poems are written in trochaic meter:
Peter, peter pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her.
Liz Mastin Bio
Liz Mastin is a poet who lives in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho during the summer and Bullhead City, Arizona in winter. She thrives on the study of the great poets, their biographies, the schools of poetry to which they adhered, and the poetic conventions of the times in which they lived.