I love the hymns...

This one is rather geeky; if you are not into poetic technique, it will disappoint you.

It is, of course (and you will instantly recognise), self-referential "Short Meter".

1.  I love the hymns that put
    Two three-foot lines in front,
    And then bring in an extra foot
    To give the third a bunt.
2.  With Latin prosody
    These learned authors thought
    It right to elide an "O" or "E"
    To achieve the effect they sought.
3.  Nor was their work the worse,
    In that they had the nerve
    Their verbal order to reverse, 
    And verbs for rhymes reserve.
4.  How simple was their faith,
    These sober, staid, divines,
    Who buttressed an established Church
    With weakly founded lines,
5.  And still maintain, today,
    When faith has more to meet,
    The even tenor of their way
    In odd iambic feet.

Source unknown, believed to be a Punch magazine from the 1950s.

Many thanks to John Laidlaw for providing this item.

Oh, and if you want an entertaining (although occasionally rude) introduction to poetic technique, read Stephen Fry's utterly brilliant and surprisingly deep The Ode Less Travelled, ISBN 9781592402489

Copyright © David Lee
E-mail: t.d.lee@servicemusic.org.uk
WWW: http://www.servicemusic.org.uk/
Last updated: 4th December 2012