Writing in Rhyme Tip 4 – The Anapaest

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dr-seuss-s-book-of-bedtime-stories

Last time I talked about a type of meter called the IAMB.

Today I am going to talk about the ANAPAEST.

To use ‘dancing’ as a metaphor for meter, the iamb might be likened to a march da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, etc where the anapaest would be a waltz da da DUM, da da DUM, da da DUM, da da DUM.

Seuss was particularly fond of this type of meter and many of his verse stories are written this way.

The first story in Dr. Seuss’ Book of Bedtime Stories is called Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book. Here is the first verse.

 

 

 

The news just came in

From the County of Keck

That a very small bug

By the name of Van Vleck

Is yawning so wide

You can see down his neck.

 

When we pop this into a syllable grid here’s what we can see..

 

The news just came in from the Coun ty of Keck
That a ve ry small bug by the name of Van Vleck
Is yaw ning so wide you can see down his neck

 

And here’s the first verse from Horton Hears a Who!

 

On the fifteenth of May in the Jungle of Nool

In the heat of the day in the cool of the Pool

He was splashing…enjoying the jungle’s great joys…

When Horton the elephant heard a small noise

 

On the fif teenth of May in the Jun gle of Nool
In the heat of the day in the cool of the Pool
He was splash ing en joy ing the jun gle’s great joys
When Hor ton the el e phant heard a small noise

 

As you can see, the pattern is quite distinct. Each line contains 4 stressed syllables separated by two unstressed ones.

In the last line we’re introduced to Horton the elephant. Here are some other characters that would fit the meter…

 

Shirley the crocodile

Martin the Terrier

Freddy the butterfly

 

Here are some that don’t…

 

Frank the mongoose

Jacqueline the chook

Marmaduke the Great White Shark

 

And here’s why…

 

Shirley the crocodile

Martin the terrier

Freddy the butterfly

 

When Shir ley the croc o dile heard a small noise
When Mar tin the te rri er heard a small noise
When Fre ddy the butt er fly heard a small noise

 

Frank the mongoose

Jacqueline the chook

Marmaduke the Great White Shark

 

When Hor ton the el e phant heard a small noise  
When Frank the mon goose heard a small noise      
When Jac que line the chook heard a small noise    
When Mar ma duke the Great White Shark heard a small noise

 

If I really wanted to use the name Jacqueline this is how I could do it and stay true to the meter…

 

When Jacqueline chicken perceived a small noise.

 

When Hor ton the el e phant heard a small noise
When Jac que line chick en per ceived a small noise

 

Okay I’ll leave it there.

 

Happy rhyming 🙂

 

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