Monday, 24 January 2011


Majestic, surveying its wide domain,

Soaring upwards, ever upwards - shrieking,

From the plains of the States, to untamed Spain,

Screaming to all, an undying greeting.


  1. Hello,

    Another good effort here, but again you seem to be struggling with the stresses. I'll go into more detail here than on the last post.
    The stresses should be as follows -/-/-/-/-/, unstressed followed by stressed. The first line fits this well, great. However, the second line is /-/-/-/-/-, and whilst it could be forced to have the stresses on the opposite syllables, it doesn't flow.
    The third and fourth lines could use a bit more work too. In line three, the first of the stressed syllables would be 'the', 'of' which is a bit of a waste, but you make it pop with 'States' and 'Spain', words important to the sentence. With a bit of a tweak, you could have 'plains' stressed too.
    In regards to the fourth line, say out loud 'undying'. It comes out unstressed, stressed, unstressed: un-DY-ing. But the way the line is structured, it reads like UN-dy-ING, and the important part of the word isn't emphasised.
    I find it helpful to tap my fingers along with the stresses, and if I'm not sure about a word, I say it aloud by itself and then I can really hear how it sounds, rather than how convenient it would be for it to sound differently.

    I do really like that you have a lot of internal assonance, plains, States, untamed, Spain in line 3, and screaming and greeting in the last line. This is a great way to add depth to a poem, just make sure this doesn't overtake the structural requirements of the poem.
    The content of your poem is good too, I particularly enjoyed 'majestic, surveying', the words fit in really well with my idea of an eagle.

    Good luck with the sonnet next week,

  2. Hi Wordsmith,

    Read in isolation the first three lines of the poem are superb. Each line has four stressed syllables and, though not iambic, are not jarring.

    I love the pause before shrieking. The lovely lulling flow of "From the plains of the States to untamed Spain" evokes the rhythmic beat of the eagle's wings. But then the final line crashes because , although there are again four stresses, the last syllable is unstressed "GREET-ing." This was ok with the (excellent half-rhyme) that ended the second line "SHRIEK-ing", but finishing with an unstressed syllable drains the energy and doesn't fit the mood of the poem. The larger point is that meter is not just an exercise. It has a major effect all other aspects of the poem. And what may seem like a restrictive exercise - similar to practicing scales on the piano or a jump shot in basketball - is necessary, crucial for any poet.

    Oh you might check out Hopkins' The Windhover.



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