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Open Source Shakespeare


A Shakespeare concordance, wonderfully searchable.

The Second Coming


The Poetry of Repetion.

You should recognize it.


The Journey

The Journey

Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The Time Before Death

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think… and think… while you are alive.
What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten —
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is.
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest
that does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.


translated by Robert Bly

Understanding poetry: repetition and parallelism

Repetition and parallelism—the use of similar constructions within the sentence—need further expansion.  The queen of figurative language, repetition of sound or word or phrase slips from poetry to prose to speeches of art or urgency.  Memorize this terminology, then begin to see how the great writers and orators employ it.

anaphora, the same words open the clause series
e.g.,  What the hammer? What the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
epistrophe, the same words close a clause series
e.g., When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child
symploce, the use of both anaphora and epistrophe:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

asyndeton, the omission of conjunction
e.g., Veni, vidi, vici.
polysyndeton, the repetition of conjunction
e.g., …men and women who spoke the language of duty and morality and loyalty and obligation.
antithesis, opposition in construction
e.g., Many are called, few are chosen.
Man proposes, God disposes.
climax, clauses ascending in importance
e.g., …three things endure: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Additionally, there are different forms of asyndeton for the acutely-focused student:
apokoinu: …there was no breeze came through the door.
parataxis: I weep for Adonais—he is dead.
zeugma: Mary likes chocolate, John vanilla.

Figures of repetition

Figures of repetition

A fantastic resource with which to go deeper into figurative speech and the understanding of the craft.

From the aptly-named SILVA RHETORICAE: follow the branches.

Understanding poetry: terminology mnemonics

Close readers of the lists noted that I have arranged the terminology so that the first letters create the phrase mnemonic “The airship fuel.”

see https://kingsleyandersen.com/2013/08/05/understanding-poetry-rhyme-v-2/

In v.2 I have added consonance, assonance, and repetition, thus increasing the mnemonic to “The airship fuel car.”  As this may not appeal to your tastes, I offer the following mnemonics to aid you in memorizing the basics of rhyme. (If you don’t find any that stick in your memory, you are a hard nut indeed.)

Hi! Uplift a searcher
Relish fruit: a peach
A catfish pie hurler
Here, hurl a pacifist
Theirs a careful hip
Each a pushier flirt
A fireplace hurt his
A heretical fur ship
A peachier lush rift
Either hip’s a fulcra
Hire a plushier fact
A ripe flesh haircut
A haircut fire helps
Hurl a feistier chap
A filthier chap’s rue
Hurries a life patch
Charities fur a help
A spherical fire hut
He’s a spherical fruit
Uh, a seraphic lifter
Hurl a heraphic serif
Plus a charier thief
A charier he uplifts
Flip her a Eucharist
A chapel hires fruit
Preach a filthier us
Hi purchaser! A filet?
Hi! Purchase a trifle
Reach a flusher tipi
Hi! A spiteful archer
Hurl a spacier thief
A practice flier, huh?
A practice rifle, huh?
Uh a shiftier parcel

Understanding poetry: rhyme v.2

From the Oxford:

rhyme |rīm|
correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words, esp. when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry.
• a short poem in which the sound of the word or syllable at the end of each line corresponds with that at the end of another.
• poetry or verse marked by such correspondence of sound.
• a word that has the same sound as another.

To simplify:

rhyme, the correspondence of sounds between words or the ending of words.
rhythm is a regular, repeated pattern, from the Greek rhuthmos, ‘to flow.’

To review:
syllable, a vowel sound usually conjoined to a consonant.
vowel, an open vocal-tract sound.
consonant, a closed vocal-tract sound.

Now, some examples. (Note that rhyme at the end of the line is only one of many types):

triple, words with three rhyming syllables, e.g., quickening/thickening
head, i.e., alliteration: “And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.”
end, rhyme at the line’s end
apocopated, a “cut-off”rhyme, e.g., hot/potted, pain/gainless
internal, rhyme within the line
rising, an iamb (syllables unstressed and stressed) or single stressed syllable at line’s end (see image below)
slant/half/off/approximate/near, an “almost” rhyme, e.g, fear/care, gone/moan
homonym, a repeated rhyme with different spelling, e.g., sail/sale, preys/praise
identical, or repetition, the same word, reemphasized
pure, rhyme with differing initial consonant: bell/cell/dell/fell/hell
falling, a trochee (syllables stressed and unstressed)(see image below.)
unpatterned, randomly-placed rhymes
eye, slant rhymes that look alike: cough/rough, wind/find
linked, end syllable of one line beginning the next, e.g.,
Night weighs down on the rooftop
stops the flashlight of a scared cop

consonance, recurring consonants in proximity
assonance, repeated vowel sounds in stressed syllables
repetition, repeating word or phrase

The list is an adaptation of the types of rhyme listed in
Mayes, Frances. The Discovery of Poetry. Harcourt. 2001. (See https://kingsleyandersen.com/2013/07/01/494/ for page numbers.)

The stressed or accented syllable is indicated by the ictus′ and the unstressed or unaccented syllable by the breve˘