Poetry by Jeff Green


A simple form

by cricketjeff on February 28, 2008.  © Jeff Green, All rights reserved

A sonnet can be hard to write
Iambic beat a heavy load
I find this form a bit more light
The sapphic ode

Four beats a line for the first three
A di DUM rhythm in each one
The fourth is short and you can see
It makes for fun

So go on give this style a try
It’s been around three hundred years
Poets from Pope to Stephen Fry
Have found it cheers

The classic sapphic’s not the same
It gives a lovely subtle flow
But this short form is like a game
Give it a go!

Author notes

The sapphic form in classical poetry had three 11 syllable lines followed by a 5, in a particular beat. Some poets here and some well know ones have written in the form rhymed and unrhymed but it can be tough. Alexander Pope in particular but also many others used this 8 8 8 4 syllable rhymed version to great effect try this perhaps my favourite as an example.

I find it great practice for writing “iambically” tetrameter (four beats) rather than the pentameter (5 beats) that sonnets use.
You can see the beat if I write my first stanza like this

a SON | net CAN | be HARD | to write
i AM | bic BEAT | a HEA | vy LOAD
i FIND | this FORM | a BIT | more light
the SAP | phic ODE