Monday, April 19, 2010

IT'S RAINING: An Original Poem & Repetition in Poetry

I wrote the following poem a couple of weeks ago—inspired by a long period of rainy days. It just kept raining and raining and raining…and sometimes pouring. It seemed as if the rain would never stop. In my poem, I tried to capture the thoughts of a child who feels his/her world has been inundated with rain.

It’s Raining

It’s raining…
Raining all around.
It’s raining puddles
On the ground.
It’s raining
On my booted feet.
It’s raining
Rivers in the street.
It’s raining cats.
It’s raining dogs.
It’s raining ponds
For polliwogs.
It’s raining
Drop by drop by drop…
A billion trillion—
It won’t stop!
It’s raining buckets
From the sky.
Don’t think the earth
Will EVER dry.

You can see that I repeated the words “It’s raining” many times in my poem. I’m sure you can figure out why—to emphasize the point that it’s raining…a lot!

You will see that Mary Ann Hoberman repeated the word “snow” many times in the following poem:

SNOW

Snow
Snow
Lots of snow
Everywhere we look and everywhere we go
Snow on the sandbox
Snow on the slide
Snow on the bicycle
Left outside
Snow on the steps
And snow on my feet
Snow on the sidewalk
Snow on the sidewalk
Snow on the sidewalk
Down the street.



Here’s a poem I posted previously at Wild Rose Reader. I use the same sentence as the first line of every stanza of my poem I Am Lion. Repetition doesn’t serve the same purpose in this poem as it did in the previous two poems.

Do you think I Am Lion would have been a better poem if I hadn't used repetition? Let’s see.

I AM LION

I am lion.
See my mane?
I am king
And here I reign
On the Serengeti Plain.

I am lion.
See my paws
With their sharp
And pointy claws?
See my teeth and mighty jaws?

I am lion.
Hear my roar?
I’m a cat
Of legend…lore.
I’m a fearsome predator!

I am lion.
Who are you?
You’re my prey!
How do you do?
You look plump…and juicy, too.

I am lion,
Royal beast.
Sorry that you’re
Now deceased.
You were
one delicious feast!


Let’s eliminate the first line in four of the stanzas and see how the poem reads.

I am lion.
See my mane?
I am king
And here I reign
On the Serengeti Plain.

See my paws
With their sharp
And pointy claws?
See my teeth and mighty jaws?

Hear my roar?
I’m a cat
Of legend…lore.
I’m a fearsome predator!

Who are you?
You’re my prey!
How do you do?
You look plump…and juicy, too.

I am lion,
Royal beast.
Sorry that you’re
Now deceased.
You were
one delicious feast!

As you can see—the rhythm was definitely affected. Of course, I could have written a different four-syllable line to begin each stanza. But I didn’t. I chose repetition. I thought it worked well in I Am Lion. What do you think?

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More on Repetition in Poetry

Here are some quotes from postings about repetition in poetry that I found on the Internet:

“Repetition of a sound, syllable, word, phrase, line, stanza, or metrical pattern is a basic unifying device in all poetry. It may reinforce, supplement, or even substitute for meter, the other chief controlling factor in the arrangement of words into poetry.”
Read more here—http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/repetition.html


“Repetition, however, is perhaps the most basic idea in poetics. There are all sorts of repetition: the repetition of rhythmic elements (meter); the repetition of sounds (rhyme, etc.); the repetition of syntactic elements (often a lineation device in open form); the repetition of stanzas (terza rima, for example), and so on.”
Read more here—http://www.uni.edu/~gotera/CraftOfPoetry/repetition.html

5 comments:

Bridget said...

Great poems! I love the repitition. That probably comes from reading too many picture books. Repitition can make (or break) a poem. I tried taking it out of one of my poems and like you, Elaine, I found that it threw the poem off.

Rebecca said...

I love repetition, I love repetition, I love repetition. A lot!

That rain poem made me hungry for a good thunderstorm.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Bridget,

I agree about repetition making or breaking certain poems. Sometimes it's needed for rhythm or for emphasis.

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Rebecca,

I find there are times when repetition is exactly what a poem calls out for.

I don't think I'll be hungry for a rainstorm for a good long time.

Anonymous said...

i really liked the snow and raining one

Anonymous said...

nice poems