Monday, December 16, 2013

The Joy of Prosody - Metered Christmas Poems

By Liz Mastin
The Beautiful Christmas Poems


 Many of the famous Christmas poems by poets such as Clement Clark Moore, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Blake, William Wordsworth, Robert Louis Stevenson and more, were written in meter. One of the more interestingly devised metered Christmas poems I just came across, is a poem written (except in the first stanza, in which the poet changed the rhyming pattern for her own reasons) in an aaabbcc rhyming pattern. That means the first three lines of each stanza, rhyme with each other, followed by two rhyming couplets. It is mainly iambic tetrameter with anapestic substitutions. The iambic beat sounds like “da DUM” four times across each line. The substituted feet called anapests sound like “da da DUM.”
     
This poem flows nicely with its graceful-sounding substituted anapests. “The Christmas Night” by Lucy Maud Montgomery has a reminiscent quality: a lovely old fashioned homage to the beauty of Christmas. Lucy Maud Montgomery, a Canadian author born in 1874, was best known for her popular series “Anne of Green Gables.”

             The Christmas Night                   
                                     By Lucy Maud Montgomery

Wrapped was the world in slumber deep,                               
The stars out blossomed in fields of blue,
By seaward valley and woody steep,
And bright and blest were the dreams of its sleep;
All the hours of that wonderful night-tide through
A heavenly wreathe, to diadem
The King in the manger of Bethlehem.

Out on the hills the shepherds lay,
Wakeful, that never a lamb might stray,
Humble and clean of heart were they;
Thus it was given for them to hear
Marvelous harpings strange and clear,
Thus it was given for them to see
The angels of the nativity.

In the dim-lit stable the mother mild
With holy eyes gazed on her child,
Cradled him close to her heart and smiled;
Kingly purple nor crown had he,
Never a trapping of royalty;
But Mary saw that the baby’s head
With a slender halo was garlanded.

Speechless her joy as she watched him there,
Forgetful of pain and grief and care,
And every thought in her soul was a prayer;
While under the dome of the desert sky
The Kings of the East from afar drew nigh.
And the great white star that was guide to them
Kept ward o’re the manger of Bethlehem.

  

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.

While she enjoys free verse as well as metrical poetry, her main interest lies in prosody. She notices that most of the enduring poems are those we can remember and recite. Liz enjoys poetry forms such as the sonnet, the sestina, the couplet, blank verse, simple quatrains, etc. and she hopes to see modern poets regain interest in studied metrical poetry.

Liz is currently putting together her first collection of poems which should be completed this winter. The poems are a mixture of metrical and free verse poems.

4 comments:

Elizabeth S. Brinton said...

Thank you so much for reminding us that our beloved L.M. Montgomery also wrote poetry.

sasha concepcion said...

That's a nice christmas poem you got there. I discovered your website while searching for images to add to pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/kumar65/christmas-poems/. Thank You for sharing.

Meow Opre said...

Been spending time searching for the best Christmas greetings messages and card samples, or maybe gift ideas as early as now. Would like to express my love for those who've supported me the whole year round. Thanks for some ideas here!. :)

Sarah Bowen said...

This is amazing. I truly salute those poet that share their piece of thoughts through poetry. I commend you. I love reading poems. In fact, I am using some short Christmas poems for my cards (or some verses of them) as part of my christmas greetings.

Merry Christmas!