Poetry has rhythm, you can feel it in your feet.
It's special name is 'metre', it's the way the beats repeat.

Stressed and Unstressed syllables

Say the above poem out loud. Can you hear the way the bold letters are naturally stressed as you say them? These are called the stressed syllables, and the light ones are unstressed. In the English language the words themselves dictate where the stresses go, and the aim in rhythm poetry is to write in such a way that the natural stresses of the words form a repeating pattern as the poem above does. Just as an experiment, try reading the above poem out loud in the exact opposite way to that which I have described (ie, stressing the light type, and saying the bold type gently). Can you see how un-natural it feels? This is where an understanding of different metres and stresses can really help the flow of your poetry.

Explaining Metre

Measuring Feet

Examples of Metre

Iambic Tetrameter

Iambic Heptameter

Trochaic Heptameter


Anapaestic Tetrameter


The Clipped Foot