The Silence of the Iambs


The Silence of the Iambs

Anapests sing lullabies while dactyls gallop on.
Trochees beat a drum beat that’s heard hither and yon,
but raindrops speak in iambs, dripping from the eaves
as the torrent lessens and cups itself in leaves.
All the small feet hushed now, we can fall asleep.
We can find our dreams inside a silence that’s so deep.


The title, by the way, is talking about iambs, not lambs.  Hard to tell when it is capitalized.

The loud rhythms of the unseasonal rain that awakened me so early this morning have ceased, leaving only the faint drip of water off the eaves. This poem may be one that only another poet could appreciate, but for those of you who aren’t poets and who didn’t pay attention in your lit class, it is about metrical feet—the syllable rhythms within a poem and even within our everyday speech and nature itself.  A trochee (the rhythm of a native American drumbeat replicated in the poem “Hiawatha”) is an accented or long syllable followed by a short one. An iamb is the rhythm in the English we speak every day––a short syllable followed by a long one. An anapest is the rhythm of a lullaby. (short short long) whereas a dactyl (the rhythm of a horse’s gallop) is its opposite (long short short).


The prompt today is silent.

28 thoughts on “The Silence of the Iambs

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Your name is a dactyl followed by a trochee or spondee, depending on whether you say “Armstrong” with stress on both syllables or just the first. In case you were wondering. ;o)


  1. MNL

    I knew feet and iamb but it’s the first I’ve heard of trochee, anapest, and dactyl. That made me instantly think of pterodactyl and found dactyl came from the Greek word for daktulos for finger. Who knew poetry and dinosaurs came from the same roots?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. okcforgottenman

        I love why the poetic term is called a dactyl! From Merriam-Webster:
        Origin and Etymology of dactyl: Middle English dactile, from Latin dactylus, from Greek daktylos, literally, finger; from the fact that the first of three syllables is the longest, like the joints of the finger

        Liked by 2 people

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Ha. I knew that title would cause confusion. I considered not capitalizing it, hoping it would help, but then the misdirection was also fun. I like my iambs with a few fava beans, don’t you????

      Liked by 1 person


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