Friday, 17 July 2020

Metrics are all around us

Whenever I notice poets or readers getting themselves worked up about metre, I'm reminded that it's actually dead simple and is often made to seem difficult by terminology. In fact, it's present in all our lives, in every sentence we utter, and then is ramped up, as a certain Mr Matt Hancock might have it, in songs, advertising slogans and poems, etc, etc... At times, the creator of metrical lines is perfectly aware of what they're doing, but at others they're just following their ear.

To show what I mean, I'd now like to offer up a few examples from a wide gamut of sources in order to demonstrate how metre reaches every crevice of language. We can easily get to grips with it if we just relax and listen...

Tell me what you want,
what you really, really want...had the Spice Girls serving up two lines of trochees.

All my troubles seemed so far away,
now it looks as if they're here to stay...saw The Beatles working in a similar vein.

Old McDonald had a farm
and on that farm he had a cow......is also a series of trochees (followed by iambs), which is why any translation into Spanish sounds so wonky.

There were three in the bed
and the little one said...is another nursery rhyme, but this time it's using anapests.

All the world's a stage
and all the men and women merely players... might be a classical example of trocheees and iambs...

They f*** you up, you Mum and Dad...on the other hand, was still using a similar beat in the 20th Century.

Let your fingers do the walking was an advertising slogan made up of trochees.

Totally tropical taste was another one that used dactyls.

These are just a few examples of the many that are around us. What are your favourite instances of metre being used in our everyday lives...?

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