meter · Poetry · rhyme · rhythm · stress · Verbs · Writing

Anonymous poet No. 1

The Sad Ogre

The ogre walked along his head hung down singing a song

I’m not scared I’m big and strong.

His tears fell and he sat in a pile huddled alone with no smile.

Mr. Ogre why do you cry the sand flies buzzed by.

He swatted and cursed and shooed him away

My friend said I’m too scared to play.

Play you say, scared of what? You’re big and strong like a bit steel pot

The ogre stood proud and tall his head held high as he reached up to the sky

Grabbing the sand fly he kissed his small head and said,

You made be better I’m not scared any more

Now I can play when mummy lets me out the back door.


So the first thing I try to identify, when I begin to edit a rhyming story or poem, is the meter. What is the rhythm? When I read this I found it extremely difficult to identify any recurring patterns in meter. Even though there are rhymes – song/strong; pile/smile; away/play; what/pot; high/sky – there is no consistent meter. So here’s what I might suggest…



The ogre walked along

his head hung down singing a song

I’m not scared I’m big and strong


The ogre dragged his feet along

He hung his head and sang a song

I’m not scared, I’m big and strong


When this is inserted into a syllable grid with the stressed syllables bolded you will be able to see a visual representation of the meter or lack thereof.


The o gre walked a long
His head hung down sing ing a song
~ I’m not scared I’m big and strong
The o gre dragged his feet a long
He hung his head and sang a song
~ I’m not scared I’m big and strong


You’ll see that the original begins with 3 alternating iambic feet. An iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. daDA daDA daDA


The next part (I’ve put it on a new line) begins with an iambic foot and is followed by four syllables that in ‘natural’ speech would normally be stressed or at least spoken with the same emphasis, neither longer nor shorter than the syllables around it and when read aloud sounds flat, tuneless.

My suggestions in green were made for the following reasons…


  1. I’ve replaced the word ‘walked’ as this is a common verb. ‘Dragged’ is more descriptive.
  2. ‘Dragged his feet’ fits the iambic pattern.
  3. The last line I’ve rearranged so that the stressed and unstressed syllables form an iambic meter. I’ve not changed the meaning, just the meter.
  4. The third line is fine. You’ll note that overall there is one less syllable in this line, however, where meter is concerned, it is the stressed syllables that matter, and there are still four of those.


This one was tricky because I felt it was closer to a free verse poem than a metrical one. There is of course no problem with this but because of the rhymes I feel that it needs to be a bit more structured and more predictable for the reader. When readers read rhyme they will expect some sort of pattern and at the moment the patterns are little too vague.

Unfortunately I am unable to edit the entire poem as I’d like to do as many different ones as I can but I hope that I have made some sense and I thank poet No 1 for sending it in. A copy of my e-book is on its way.

3 thoughts on “Anonymous poet No. 1

  1. Really good to look at your comments and suggestions, Jackie.
    I’m sure we’ll all brush up on our rhyme, rhythm and meter and as Jill said…you really know what you’re talking about 🙂


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