Monometer is a line of poetry containing one foot in any meter.
In a BRANCH
of a TREE...
It is rare to write a poem composed entirely of monometer; usually the line of this length is used as a tail line, refrain or as an accent line.
I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
For milder weather.
~ I Am a Parcel of Vain Strivings. by Thoreau.
Dimeter is the two foot line.
An example of iambic dimeter is the phrase ‘And so to bed’, and an example of verse in imabic dimeter can be constructed upon it.
And SO to BED,
the NIGHT is STILL,
so SLEEP and THRILL
in DREAMS aHEAD.
The phrase ‘up the hillsides’ is an example of trochaic dimeter leading to the following example:
UP the HILLsides
DOWN the VALley
HERE in DREAMings
An example of anapæstic dimeter can be found by taking a liberty and breaking down a line from Byron’s ‘Destruction Sennacherib’ in to two:
The AsSYRian came DOWN
Like the WOLF on the FOLD...
Glimmering and shimmering are both dactylic words and can be used to construct an example of dactylic dimeter:
SHINE all the HEAVenly
LIGHTS of the UNiverse.
Trimeter refers to lines composed of three feet.
The following lines from Emily Dickinson’s ‘I Only News I know’ are examples of iambic trimeter.
The ONly NEWS I KNOW
Is BULleTINS all DAY
The ONly SHOWS I SEE
ToMORrow AND toDAY
Expanding on the phrase from the example used for trochaic dimeter we get the phrase ‘hiking up the hillsides’ gives a phrase in trochaic trimeter which can be used to construct a verse from.
HIKing UP the HILLsides
STROLling DOWN the VALleys
PASSions GLOW with DREAMings
WHERE the WRIter DALlies
In the GLOW of the LOWering SUN
we reTURN to the TRAILS on the HILLS
HOMEward we WALKED through the WILderness
WEARily WAVing to PASSers by.
Tetrameter refers to lines composed of four feet.
An example of iambic tetrameter taken from Tennyson’s In Memoriam.
and BATS went ROUND in FRAgrant SKIES
and WHEEL’D or LIT the FILMy SHAPES
that HAUNT the DUSK, with ERmine CAPES
and WOOLy BREASTS and BEADed EYES
Longfellow’s Hiawatha is an example of trochaic tetrameter:
BY the SHORES of GITchee GUMee,
BY the SHINing BIG sea WAter...
Byron’s The Destruction of Sennacherib provides an example of anapæstic tetrameter
the asSYRian came DOWN like the WOLF on the FOLD,
and his COhorts were GLEAMing in PURple and GOLD;
and the SHEEN of their SPEARS was like STARS on the SEA...
UPon the HILLS where the FAIRies are LINgering
PONder the MOment as WISTfully DREAMings go
DOWN in my VALleys of BEAUtiful FANtasy
Pentameter refers to the five foot line.
This is the most widely used poetic line in English literature; it is the heroic line used by Shakespeare
and other dramatists, Milton in Paradise Lost and Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales.
Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubdiydt of Omar Khayam provides an example of iambic pentameter:
a BOOK of VERses UNderNEATH the BOUGH,
a JUG of WINE, a LOAF of BREAD -- and THOU
beSIDE me SINGing IN the WILderNESS--
oh WILderNESS were PARaDISE eNOW!
THERE are CRESTed WAVES upON the SURface
SWIMming CLOSer ARE the SHINing MERmaids
SWIMing, GLIStened WITH the EVil OMens.
at the CREST of the WAVES where the MERmaids were SWIming aLONG
COME to the BANquet ye BRAVest of BATtle-scarred WARriors
WEAR ye the TROphies of VICtory; HIDE all thy WEARiness
Hexameter refers to a line composed of six feet.
Also know as the alexandrine, iambic hexameter is widely used in French poetry.
Edmund Spenser’s The faerie Queen uses hexameter lines at the end of each stanza, for example:
did NOW but FRESHly SPRING, and SILKen BLOSsoms BEARE
Also TS Elliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
for I have KNOWN them ALL alREADy, KNOWN them ALL
This is rarely used in English poetry, but an example is as follows:
DOWN the CLUTtered PATHways, DOWN, deSCENDing DOWNward
NEVer ENDing, NEVer FEELing, FALLing DOWNward.
Also rare in English poetry, but illustrated Karl Shaporo’s Buick:
as a SLOOP with a SWEEP of imMACulate WINGS on her DELicate SPINE...
Longfellow’s Evangeline provides:
FAINT was the AIR with the Odorous BREATH of magNOLia BLOSSoms...