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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Skeltonic Verse

My Summary:  Skeltonic Verse  is:

Any number of lines without a Stanza break
Each line consist of two heavy stresses and any number of unstressed syllable
Lines are mono-rhymed until the poet decides to begin a new rhyme.
The poem should have energy and be fun.

Skeltonic Verse is named after its creator, English poet John Skelton (1460-1529),who tutored King Henry the Eighth when he was just a prince, spent time in prison, was censured by the Church and in general, seemed to have a great amount of fun.

Sources I found useful with more information you may appreciate.

Skeltonic Verse which today is sometimes also referred to as Tumbling Verse, is from the 15th century when English poet John Skelton (1460-1529) created short lines which resemble the hemistich of the Tumbling Verse of King James. It is a subgenre of Georgic, didactic verse, the verse usually being instructional in nature. The lines are of irregular dipodic meter with a tumbling rhyme
Skeltonic Verse is:
  • written in any number of dipodic lines without stanza break.
  • dipodic which is a line with 2 heavy stresses and any number of unstressed syllables.
  • rhymed, tumbling rhyme is any number of monorhymed lines until the rhyme runs out of energy then the lines switch to a new mono-rhyme series. 

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the great PMO resource.

Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement
Developed by John Skelton (Happy Hank, the Wife Slayer’s poetic mentor and court poet), these are satirical rhymed dipodic lines. It is also known as Tumbling Verse. This requires explaining the difference between podic and accentual-syllabic verse. With accentual-syllabic verse, every syllable counts, both stressed and unstressed. If a line of verse is iambic pentameter, it will be ten syllables alternating between unstressed and stressed as: da_DUM da_DUM da_DUM da_DUM da_DUM.
“I dived beneath the desk to hide from her.”
Podic verse was kind of a looser midway point between the alliterative accentuals of the Anglo-Saxons and the accentual-syllabics that Chaucer adapted into English based on French forms that were rhymed and syllabic. So, podic verse is usually rhymed and has a certain number of stresses in the line, but the number of unstressed syllables doesn’t count. A dipodic line has two stresses. It might have from zero to four unstressed syllables, so the line can vary from two to six syllables and still be dipodic.
“Her eyes aflame
fire bright
cast her claim
all night.”
Although this quatrain varies between two and four syllables per line, they are all dipodic.
Skelton’s rhyming was also inconsistent. He might rhyme two lines in a row or ten, then he’d change rhymes for another indeterminate length, and then do it again.

My thanks to Charles L.  Weatherford who frequently provides more detail and insight than most.

My Example Poem

Dipodic What?

Dipodic Verse
Will be Terse.
Stress used just twice
to keep it nice,
short or long
a lilting song
or sounding gong
that won't go wrong
if you adhere
to the rule here,
Now is that clear
My dear?

© Lawrencealot - 2013

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