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Songs of circum/stance-original poems and introduction Kearns, Lionel John 1964

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SONGS OF CIRCUM/STANCE -original poems and introduction by LIONEL JOHN KEARNS B.A., The University of Br i t i s h Columbia, 1961 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Ap r i l , 1964 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study* I further agree that per-mission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publi-cation of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permissions, Department of The University of British Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada i i ABSTRACT This thesis consists of a selection of original poems and an introductory essay which treats the subject of poetic form and sets out an original system of verse notation, called "Stacked Verse" which i s used in laying out the poems. The essay may be summarized as follows. Verse, in i t s widest definition, i s language whose sound form has been ordered or stylized for special aesthetic effect. Because verse i s a time art, i t s essential form i s a rhythm, that i s , a chronological set of points and their intervals. These points may be marked by any significant feature of the language, although in English verse the speech feature most commonly used as a basis for measure i s syllable stress. Yet this term i s ambiguous because in English speech there are two different systems of relative stress patterning operative at the same time. On one hand there i s the relative stress within individual words. This type of patterning, which we c a l l "word stress", i s stable within the language, and has functioned as the basis of traditional English metre. The other system of relative stress patterning, which we c a l l "rhetorical stress", varies according to the speaker and the occasion. Rhetorical stress patterning i s a matter of syllable groups, pauses, and equal time intervals between heavily stressed syllables. When this type of patterning is stylized we get what i s known as "strong stress" verse measure. Although this latter type of measure has not occurred extensively in English verse since Chaucer's time, i t has nevertheless come down to us in folk verse and in the work of such poets as Langland, Skelton, Coleridge and Hopkins, and i s being practised increasingly by poets in our own day. This brings us to the question of variable, as opposed to regular, form. The stylization of speech features does not necessarily imply regularization. The prevalence of run-on line endings both in strong stress poetry of the Anglo-Saxons and in metred blank verse since Shakespeare's day t e s t i f i e s to the fact that regularity has never been an indispensable feature of English verse. Closely associated with variable verse measure i s the theory of organic form. A poet may either begin his composi-tion with some fixed model in mind, or he may choose to compose in utter freedom, letting the poem take the shape which his emotion, not his conscious i n t e l l e c t , gives i t . The measure of this latter type of composition w i l l naturally be variable, but i f i t i s also to be organic in the sense of being truly correlative to the poet's emotion i t must be based on a feature of the language that does in fact vary according to an individual's emotional condition. Such a speech feature i s rhetorical stress patterning, and therefore a validly organic verse form would be one based on variable strong stress measure. The reason this type of measure is s t i l l relatively unrecognized i s because i t cannot be represented on the page by conventional transcription methods, our writing system being inadequate in marking the variable rhetorical stress patterns of English speech. Because the following poems have their verse forms based on such variable strong stress measure, the writer has found i t necessary to devise a system of verse notation which w i l l handle this type of verse form on the page. The writer calls this notation "Stacked Verse". ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Farts of this thesis have appeared in the following publications. Prism Delta Poet Evidence Canadian Forum Outsider Genesis West E l Corno Emplumado Tish Tamarack Review  Envoi Prometheus: The Young Socialist Quarterly Poetry 64 CHQM CBC TABLE OF CONTENTS v INTRODUCTION I Verse 1 II Measure 4 III English Stress Patterns 7 IV English Metre 12 V Strong Stress Measure 17 VI Variable Verse Forms 26 VII Organic Form 32 VIII Notation 39 IX Stacked Verse 43 POEMS Process 47 Ambergris: A Statement on Source. 48 Composition 50 Now 53 The Scholar at Five 54 Formula 55 Things 56 Recall 58 Residue 60 Presence 61 Thaw 62 Family 63 In Bed Before Bunset 65 Departure 66 Precipitation 67 Levitation 68 Situation $9 The Requisition of Catabolism 72 Decomposition 73 Vision 75 Measure 76 Poetic 78 In Group 80 v i Vastation in the Stacks 81 It 83 The Charnel-House of Dharma 84 The Yogi as Humorist.. 86 Friday at the Ex 88 Stuntman 91 Appointment 93 Remains 94 Prototypes 96 Contra Diction 97 Theology Haiku 98 The Sensationalist 99 Report 101 Homage to Machado 102 A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 103 PART I VERSE There remains...aesthetic discourse, manifested chiefly but not solely in poetry and other deliberately cultivated styles. This i s at the bottom more a matter of form than of content. Content may be put into any form whatever. But features of style turn constantly both on the actual linguistic form and on the arrangement or order of the successive units of an utterance. Joshua Whatmough: Language Let us begin our definition by saying that verse i s language, and that by "language" we mean simply an oral-aural system of human communication. This system i s made up on one hand of the physical sound forms which originate in the mouth of the sender and are picked up by the ear of the receiver, and on the other hand, of the referents, or meanings, associated with the various sound forms in the minds of those people who speak the language. It i s important that we are aware of this dual aspect of language, and whether we think of the matter in terms of form and content, sound and meaning, symbol and 1 (New York, 1956), p.88 2 referent, we must recognize the fact that unless both these elements are present an utterance cannot be regarded as a phenomenon of language. A l l language, however, i s not verse, and we must narrow our definition even more by saying that verse i s language whose sound form has special aesthetic appeal. This i s not to say that the referential side of verse i s irrelevant; we are merely stating that no matter how much verse shares the quality of referential ordering with other forms of literary art the story, for example the distinguishing feature of verse i s i t s 2 sonic ordering. This definition implies two categories of language art, verse and prose, categories which, of course, must be taken as cardinal rather than functional. There can never be any precise dividing line between the two genres; there can only be works that approach one side of the graph or the other, for a l l language may be said to have some aesthetic relevance 2 This fact explains why prose can be translated into another language, or even into other words of the same language, whereas verse cannot. The former depends for i t s effect upon reference, which i s to a large extent interchangeable between languages. Verse, on the other hand, which depends as well upon i t s sound forms for i t s effect, cannot be translated because each parti-cular language has i t s own particular set of sounds which is not wholly shared by any other language. That which passes for verse translation i s usually a rendering of the prose sense of the work in the new tongue or at best some kind of crude recon-struction of the sound pattern of the original according to some approximate formula of correspondences between the sound systems of the two languages. 3 in i t s sound forms, however contingent or minimal this may be. Having accepted the above definition of verse we are now ready to go on to discuss the nature of certain types of poetic form. The reader must realize, however, that our definitions force us to regard the poem as an entity of sound and that the written work is therefore merely a spacial transcription of the sonic form which, is the actual poem. 4 PART II MEASURE Rhythm is a form cut into TIME as design is determined SPACE Ezra Pound ABC of Reading 3 Verse, like music, is a time art, and i t s formal struc-ture, therefore, may be thought of as rhythm, i f we use this term to mean a chronological series of perceptible points and their intervals. In fact, we might even think of rhythm in this way as being time measured in the concrete. And just as the production and contemplation of spacial art painting or sculpture for example involves the principle of measure, so the creation and appreciation of verse form must involve this same principle, or perhaps we should say process. In theory, verse measure can be based on any functional element of the sound system of the language in question. Such common poetic devices as a l l i t e r a t i o n and assonance or rhyme and word repetition involve the special repetition of particular sounds or sound groups in order to segment the sound continuum of the poem and so establish a structural rhythm. Particular 3 (New York, 1934) p.202. 5 sound qualities may also function in this way, and so we have poetic rhythms that are based on the relative loudness or dur-ation of syllables.4 We should emphasize, however, that the particular voice qualities must also be operative elements in the sound system of the particular language involved. For example, the rhythmic structure of a French poem cannot depend upon the relative loudness of consecutive syllables because the average French speaker's ear does not take account of this difference. Similarly, i t would be absurd to talk, as many traditional prosodists^ do, of verse structures in English 4 Although i t does not directly concern this paper, i t is of interest to bring attention to the analytical possibilities inherent in Roman Jacobson's theory of "distinctive features", a universal system of oppositional sound qualities which in • combination form the segmental elements of the sound system of any language. See Roman Jacobson and Morris Halle, Fundamentals  of Language ( 'S-Gravenhage, 1956 ) . This system, i f applied to poetry, would be something very similar to poet Robert Duncan's concept of an "absolute scale of resemblance and disresemblance" in speech sounds upon which the poet ideally constructs his rhythmic patterns. 5 The idea of vowel duration as the basis of English, metre is an example of terms relevant to the classical languages being misapplied to English. George Saintsbury, who is s t i l l regarded in some circles as the standard authority on English prosody, is a case in point. His works: A History of English  Prosody (London, 1906-1910 ) 3 vol., and Manual of English.  Prosody (London, 1910), are-of value only i f we disregard his confused c r i t e r i a for-establishing the durational classification of syllables, see Manual, pp.19-23, and interpret his longs and shorts as being strong and weakly stressed syllables. being based on vowel length, for vowel length, is not an operative element in the English language; at least, i t has not been for the last few hundred years. This i s not to say that a l l English vowels are of equal duration; but because this kind of variation is not meaningfully s i g n i f i -cant in i t s e l f , i t passed unnoticed by the ear of the averag English speaker. 7 PART III ENGLISH STRESS PATTERNS As no science can go beyond; mathematics, no criticism can go beyond i t s linguistics. And the kind of linguistics needed by recent criticism for the solution of i t s pressing problems of metrics and s t y l i s t i c s . . . i s not semantics..., but down to earth, linguistics, micro linguistics, not metalinguistics. Harold Whitehall: reviewing An Outline of English Structure, by George L. Trager and Henry Lee Smith." A feature of English speech which has frequently been used as a device of verse measure is syllable stress, or per-haps we should c a l l i t syllable prominence. In order to ill u s t r a t e the way stress patterns can function as basis for formal verse rhythms we must f i r s t analyse a small segment of English speech. In so doing i t w i l l be convenient to adopt certain terms, categories and symbols from the linguists. Let us therefore use four degrees of stress: /// primary or heavy; /*/ secondary; /V tertiary; and /*/ weak. And let us also recognize those pitch shapes which occur, usually 6 Kenyon Review, XIII (1951), 713. 8 accompanied by a slight pause, at the ends of syllable clusters, and are called "terminal junctures". The three main types are: the double cross juncture /$/, characterized by a f a l l i n g pitch contour and occurring usually at the end of a sentence; the double bar juncture J\\l, characterized by a rising pitch, contour and occurring in a sequence such, as "He came /||/ he saw //(/ he conquered/jj/'V and the single bar juncture /|/, where the voice neither rises nor f a l l s before articulation stops. According to An Outline of English Structure by George L. Trager and Henry Lee Smith,? a work which, has become something of a standard among American linguists for i t s definition of terms and from which the above symbols have been borrowed, terminal junctures relate in the following way to stress patterns in English, speech: Between any two successive primary stresses there is always one of the terminal junctures, and every primary stress is followed by one terminal juncture at some point subsequent to i t . Any utterance made in English, ends in one of the terminal junctures. If i t is a minimal complete utterance i t has no other terminal junctures within' i t . In that case i t must have...one AND ONLY ONE primary stress and may have one or more other stresses .... Such, a minimal complete utterance may be called by the technical term PHONEMIC CLAUSE.8 7 Studies in Linguistics: Occasional Papers 3 (Normand, Oklahoma, 1951). 8 Outline, pp.49-50. 9 With the above categories in mind, let us analyse the stress patterns of the following sentence, "Henry has eaten Jack's elephant." The writer w i l l articulate the passage himself, imagining three different contexts of situation. (1) The speaker gives a casual explanation of the disappear-ance of a cookie: Henry has eaten Jack s elephant 'v (2) The speaker gives a casual explanation of who has eaten whose elephant: Henry has eaten/jJack s elephant" (3) The speaker excitedly t e l l s his wife, who is upstairs making the beds, what has happened to a plastic toy: Henryl/has eaten^Jack1 s/|elephant I It should also be noted that the heavily stressed syllables in the last utterance are approximately equally spaced in time, a phenomenon characteristic of English speech which we w i l l c a l l "isochronism".^ We could go on to imagine other situational contexts for the above passage and record the probable stress patterns for each occasion; however, the three examples are sufficient 9 For a technical discussion of this phenomenon see Kenneth Lee Pike, Intonation of American English (Ann Arbor, 1945), 3.6.2. 10 to i l l u s t r a t e a few basic points. To begin with, in a l l the utterances there is a constant relative stress relationship within particular words. The stress pattern of the word "eaten" for example is always in the order of stronger-weaker. and the word "elephant" has the characteristic pattern of strongest-weakest-medium. Had the speaker said "elephant", few listeners would have known what he was talking about, for this word is not known in English. Having noted this constant relative stress patterning which is characteristic of English, words, let us refer to i t for the remainder of this paper as "word stress".. The reader, however, w i l l also have noted that there i s another type of stress patterning which varies from occasion to occasion and seems to depend upon the speaker's response to the situation; in other words, i t seems to be a manifestation of the speaker's immediate emotional, mental, or even kinesthetic, condition. This type of patterning is a matter of heavy stresses, terminal junctures, and the previously mentioned phenomenon of "isochronism", whereby the heaviest stressed syllables tend to space themselves out at approximately equal intervals from one another in time through passages of sus-tained utterance. In this respect we note that the f i r s t of the utterances transcribed above is made up of one "phonemic clause", to use the Trager and Smith term, for the whole utterance contains only one primary stressed syllable and one terminal juncture. The second utterance, however, is broken into two phonemic clauses, and the third utterance is made up of no less than four of these units, each of which has i t s primary syllable in isochronous relation to the primary syllable either preceding i t or following i t , or to both. Let us c a l l this latter type of stress patterning "rhetorical stress". To summarize, therefore, we have distinguished two systems of stress patterning functioning simultaneously in English speech, each system making use of the relative degree of stress in the uttered syllables; but relating this stress in different ways. 12 PART IV ENGLISH METRE English poetry, deriving i t s basic 'heart beat' from the rhythms of oral discourse, as described by Trager and Smith, patterns binarily on a constantly varying stronger-weaker principle, or the reverse, and the iambic pattern, being s t a t i s t i c a l l y rather more possible of occurrence than the trochaic, is the overweening basic pattern. Edmund L. Epstein and Terence Hawkes: Linguistics and English ProsodylQ Having recognized the two characteristic types of stress patterning that underlie most English speech rhythm, we can now go on to show how both these stress systems have been stylized to function as distinctive modes of English, verse measure. By far the best known type of English verse measure relates to what we have called "work-stress" and is generally referred to as "metre". To put i t simply, metre occurs when the poet so arranges his words that syllables of weaker and greater stress alternate throughout the utterance. In discussing this kind of measure the theoreticians usually conceive of the utterance as being made up of two-syllable units which are called feet. An alternative and less frequent variant of this 10 Studies in Linguistics: Occasional Papers 7 (Buffalo, 1959), p.50. type of measure involves arranging the words so that two weaker syllables w i l l occur before or after every stronger syllable, and in this case the units or feet are conceived of as being made up of three syllables. However, because the majority of English metrical poetry is of the two-syllable variety, we w i l l confine our remarks solely to i t . Historically speaking, we might note that metre gradually began to make i t s e l f f e l t in English verse forms after the Norman Conquest, and by the 14th Century was the dominant principle behind most verse forms, Chaucer, of course, being the greatest medieval master of this type of measure. V '— u — 1/ -— \ it — u -B i f i l I that in/'that sesjon on |a day, in Southwerk at (the* Tabjard as/f lay, Redy/to" wenjden 0n| my piljgrymage To Caunjterburyj with, fu l l devout jcourage etc. The f i r s t English metrical forms seem to have been derived from French syllable-counted verse models, and like them, shared the complementary device of end-rhyme. But when the English, poets counted out groups of ten or twelve syllables 11 Canterbury Tales, General Prologue, 19-24, The Works of  Geoffrey Chaucer. F.N.Robinson, ed., second edition (Boston, 1957), p. 17. Symbol code: /"/ weaker stress, /"/ stronger stress, / ) / foot division. and marked them with pairs of like vowel-consonant clusters (end-rhymes) they discovered that, because of the different degrees of syllable stress characteristic of English speech, their lines took on the patterning of alternating weaker-stronger syllables and so became foot-counted, rather than s t r i c t l y syllable counted, units of measure, a fact which allows for a certain amount of variation within the line. In i l l u s t r a t i o n of this viewpoint, we have George Gascoigne, one of the f i r s t to theorize on English prosody, writing in 1575 that: ...Our father Chaucer hath used the same liberty in feet and measures that the Latinists do use. And whosoever do peruse and well consider his works, he shall find that although his lines are not always of one selfsame number of syllables, yet being read by one that hath understanding, the longest verse, and that which hath most syllables in i t , w i l l f a l l (to the ear) corres-pondent unto that which, hath fewest syllables in it.12 In recognizing and exploiting this fundamental metrical poten-t i a l of their language, and being anxious to give their own barbaric tongue literary prestige, English poets and theorists 12 "Certain Notes of Instruction concerning the Making of Verse or Rime in English, Written at the Request of Master Eduardo Donati", reprinted from Elizabethan C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith, 2 vols. (London, 1904), I. 49-54, with spelling and punctuation modernized in Discussions of Poetry: Sound and Rhythm, ed. George Hemphill (Boston, 1961), p . l . 15 associated native English syllable-stress metre with, classical quantitative metre based on vowel length, and in consequence we have English prosodic theorists, even down to the present day, talking erroneously about "long and short" syllables being the bases of English metre.^ If we make allowances, however, for the inappropriate terminology of many of the theoreticians, we can recognize a. considerable body of writing devoted to describing and i l l u s -trating the principles of this type of traditional English poetic measure. But because we are primarily concerned with another basic type of English measure in this paper, we w i l l not dwell on the subject of metre except to emphasize the fact that i t has dominated English poetry for the last five hundred years, surviving even such poetic revolutions as that outlined by Wordsworth in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth was to use as a basis of his poetic diction "the real language of men", but he was to adapt this language "by f i t t i n g i t to metrical arrangement".1-^ And even today we have modern poets who refuse to consider any type of verse form outside the 13 E.g., Saintsbury, History, and Manual. 14 Reprinted in English Romantic Prose and Poetry, ed. R. Noy.es, (New York, 1956), p.357. 16 s t r i c t l y metrical tradition. The late Robert Frost, for example, had this to say on the subject: And you see, a good many who think they're writing free verse are really writing old fashioned iambic... Ezra Pound used to say that you've got to get a l l the meter out: of i t —extirpate the meter. If you do, maybe you've got true free verse, and I don't want any of i t . ^ 15 Conversations on the Craft of Poetry, ed. Cleanth. Brooks and Robert Penn Warren (New York, 1961), p.6. t 17 PART V STRONG STRESS MEASURE Sprung Rhythm i s the most natural of things. For (1) i t is the rhythm of common speech and of written prose, when rhythm i s perceived in them. (2) It i s the rhythm of a l l but the most monotonously regular music, so thatj^he words of the choruses and refrains and in songs written closely to music i t arises. (3) It is found in nursery rhymes, weather saws, and so on; because, however these may have been once made in running rhythm, the terminations having dropped off by the change of language, the stresses came together and so the rhythm i s sprung. (4) It arises in common verse when reversed or counterpointed, for the same reason. Gerard Manley Hopkins Having recognized and acknowledged metre as the domin-ant system of English verse measure, let us turn our attention to another important although often unacknowledged system which for convenience we w i l l c a l l "strong stress measure". In defining this system let us begin by going back in this paper to page 11 in order to consider what we have recognized 16 From author's Preface to M.S. collection of poems, C.1883, printed in Poems and Prose of Gerard Manlev Hopkins, ed. W.H. Gardner (Harmondsworth, 1953), p.//. 18 as the "rhetorical stress patterns" in the transcribed example passages of English speech. We w i l l remember that utterances are broken up into syllable groups which the linguists Trager and Smith have termed "phonemic clauses" (see page 10) and that these tend to be in li n e a l isochro-nous relation to one another within the particular utterance. It is obvious that this rhetorical stress patterning is in fact a kind of natural system of speech measure in i t s e l f , and therefore might well be stylized to function as the underlying principle of a system of formal verse measure. And indeed, close examination of English literary history w i l l bear out the fact that there has been from time to time English, verse which, takes the rhetorical stress pattern of the language (as we have defined i t on page 11) as the basis of i t s formal rhythm rather than word stress patterns which, as we have seen, are the bases of traditional English meter. Perhaps i t would be advisable at this point in our discussion to acknowledge the fact that, in citing these two distinctive systems of verse measure, we do not try to force a l l English poetry to conform exclusively to either one. Rhetorical stress patterns as well as word stress patterns are present to some degree in a l l English speech and hence exist in a l l articulated English, poetry. Inevitably there 19 w i l l be some poems which rely on both these systems of stress organization for their aesthetic effect. However, for purposes of distinctive classification we may look on certain poems as having one of these stress systems underlying their formal rhythm. In such cases we might say that the other type of stress patterning merely contributes decorative effect. Admittedly this kind of arbitrary classification w i l l be valid only for those poems whose sound form gives us reasonable evidence for inclusion in either category. At any rate, we should avoid a factionalist attitude that recognizes only one possible type of stress rhythm in English poetry and tries to analyse a l l poems in terms of this single system. With this idea in mind, therefore, let us turn to a few instances of rhetorical or strong-stress measure as i t has occurred in English verse. The largest single body of English strong-stress verse is that which, comes down from the Anglo-Saxon period, having been f i r s t written down during and after the 7th Century A.D., but descending from an oral tradition which extended far into the Old Germanic past. In this type of verse the formal measure 17 was based on a stylization of common speech rhythm, the strong 17 Kemp Malone, "The Middle Ages", Book I, The Literary  History of England, ed. Albert C. Baugh (New York, 1948), p. 23. 20 stresses of the normal sound sequence having been " l i f t e d " or exaggerated, by al l i t e r a t i o n . In the following lines of the "Beowulf", such a stress pattern might well be represented as follows: Oft Scyldj Scef ing ) sceaj^ena ) )»reatum | mon^ gum J jna'eg^ pum meodosetla | of teah. | egsode / eorla.s I sy<J<tan Sere'st ) we'arct I feasceaft | f u n d i n g 1 8 ' It is evident that the single unit of formal measure conforms very closely to the syllable cluster which we have defined as the phonemic clause. It is d i f f i c u l t to speculate as to whether the principle of isochronism between heavy stresses was a characteristic feature of this type of verse, but vocal inter-pretation of various modern readers would lead us to believe that this was the case.-^ After the decline of Anglo-Saxon culture and the sub-mergence of i t s literary traditions subsequent to the Norman Conquest, strong-stress verse never again achieved such promi-nence in English, literature. Nevertheless, i t does appear from time to time. In the last half of the 14th. Century, for 18 Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Fr. Klaeber, third edition (Boston, 1941), p . l . , 11.4-7. 19 See phonograph, recordings: Harry Morgan Ayres, Selections  from Beowulf, National Council of Teachers of English, no. 33; John C. Pope, Selections from Beowulf, Lexington, no. 5505; for a similar opinion see Martin Halpern, "On the Two Chief Metrical Modes in English", PMLA, LXXVII (1962)', 181. 21 example, a period when the patterns of English metrical verse were being firmly established by such figures as Chaucer and Gower, there was also a brief resurgence of the old a l l i t e r a t i v e type of verse, albeit greatly modified from the classical Anglo-Saxon strong-stress models. In the following lines of "Piers Plowman", one of about 20 such poems which have come down to us from the period of about 1350-1400, we can note the characteristic features of a l l i t e r a t i v e stressed syllables, which mark the formal units of the verse measure: In a somerJsesun, || when softe I was je sonne,)^^ £ schop, me fj into a shroud, )| a* scheep I as I were$N In hab^te | of ^ an he'rmi/te II unholy|#f we^rkes,/!^ u O f o 0 Wehde I wydene | in ^ i s wdrld |) wondres I to' here/^ However, after this brief flourish, which the literary historians c a l l the "Al l i t e r a t i v e Revival", strong-stress verse measure a l l but disappeared from the main stream of English poetry. It was in the less sophisticated verse of the folk that the old rhythmic tradition stayed alive. Humorous doggerel, nursery rhymes and popular ballads have continued to be based on strong-stress measure right down to the present. In this respect i t is interesting to note that Northrop Frye sees a direct link between the old Anglo-Saxon forms and the folk ballad: 20 Text from Fernand Moss!, A Handbook of Middle English, trans, by G.A.Walker (Baltimore, 1952), pp.260-1. 22 The four-three-four-three stress quatrain of the ballads is actually a continuous four-beat rhythm, with a rest at the end of every other li n e . This principle of the rest, or the beat coming at a point of actual silence, was already established in Old English.^ 1 It was probably an interest in ballad measure that led Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1797 to a rediscovery of strong-stress measure. He t e l l s us, in the preface to his poem fragment, "Christabel", that the metre of the work ... i s not, properly speaking, irregular, though i t may seem so from i t s being founded on a new principle: namely that of counting in each line the accents, not the syllables. Though the latter may vary from seven to twelve, yet in each line the accents w i l l be found to be only four. Nevertheless, this occasional variation in number of syllables is not introduced wantonly, or for the mere ends of convenience, but in correspondence with some transition in the nature of the imagery or passion. With the above note in mind, we may read and transcribe a portion of "Christabel" in the following manner, noting how the lines analyse into the characteristic syllable clusters. 21 "Lexis and Melos", Sound and Poetry: English Institute  Essays; 1956 (New York, 1957), p.xvii. 22 Coleridge, Selected Poetry and Prose, ed. Elisabeth Schneider (New York, 1951), p.70. 23 'Tis the ^ middle /j of the jiight || by the Ncastle[jclock And the owls ) have awakened |j the crowing |J cock;^ Tu J— whi 1\ //, Ty | - whoo \ jl , > , And hark || again'.ll the* crowing | cock,/| How || drowsily/ i t / crew.^ 2 3 In other parts of Christabel, a reader has some d i f f i c u l t y in ascertaining the stressed syllables, but we w i l l discuss this problem later in the paper. Whether or not Christabel is truly in the strong-stress mode or whether, as some prosodists claim, i t i s merely tradi-tional metrics with a high degree of foot substitution, 2^ really depends upon one's point of view. 2 5 There is no question at a l l , however, in the case of our next exponent of the strong-stress system, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins' preface to his unpublished collection of poems shows a remarkable insight into the whole question of prosody. His definition of the two distinctive genres of verse 23 Coleridge, Selected Poetry and Prose, op. c i t . , pp.70-71. 24 Saintsbury, Manual, pp.97-100. 25 Martin Halpern, in his "On the Two Chief Metrical Modes in English", PMLA.LXXVII (June, 1962), 177-186, having identified what we-have called metrics and strong-stress measure, maintains that a l l English, verse measure outside the s t r i c t l y two-syllable foot type (iambic or trochaic) is in the strong-stress tradition, including regular anapestic or dactylic metre. Such, a point of view would clearly put "Christabel" in the strong-stress category. 24 measure: "running rhythm" and "sprung rhythm" as he calls them, could hardly be stated more clearly and simply, even today with a l l our technical knowledge about the language. Consider, for example, his following remarks on strong-stress measure: Sprung Rhythm...is measured by feet of from one to four syllables regularly, and for particular effects, any number of weak or slack syllables may be used. It has one stress, which f a l l s on only one syllable.... Nominally the feet are mixed and any one may follow any other.^6 Clearly, the foot of Hopkins' Sprung Rhythm is equivalent to the Trager and Smith "phonemic clause" {cf. page 10^ . It is also notable that Hopkins took account of the isochronous character of this type of measure, for he states that " i n Sprung Rhythm . . . the feet are assumed to be equally long or short and their seeming inequality is made up by pause or stressing."27 With the above ideas in mind, and paying attention to the d i a c r i t i c a l marks which Hopkins included in his manu-scripts as a guide to the poem's articulation, we might read and transcribe a few lines of Hopkins in the following manner: 26 Prose and Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. ed. W.H. Gardener (Harmondsworth, England, 1953), p.9v 27 Ibid., p.10. 25 Felix J Randal Jj the farrier || 0 i s he dead thenll my duty | a l l e^ded H w / / \ Whd have watched I his mould | of man fj big-bonedj , ^ and b/rdy | handsome || s / „ Pining (, pining^|j t i l l ^ t i m e j l when reason I j v rambled in it^&and some] Fatal 1i f o'url disorders I fleshed there |j i l l JJ contended28// Hopkins' Sprung Rhythm has, to a great extent, been assimilated by modern poetry, so much so that today there seems to be more strong-stress poetry being written, and especially being read aloud, than ever before. There i s , how-ever, s t i l l great confusion about the theory of modern verse measure. Indeed, for at least thirty years academic criticism has neglected the subject entirely, and i t is only since the structural linguists have turned their attention to verse forms, that there seems to have been any progress in bringing to light the principles involved in English strong-stress verse form. 28 Articulation based on reproduction of Hopkins' original manuscript, ibid., p.230. 26 PART VI VARIABLE VERSE FORMS Freedom is existence, and in i t , existence precedes essence. Jean Paul Sartre: Existentialist Psychoanalysis 2^ ...and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for i t . Shakespeare: Hamlet, 3 0 II, i i , 337-39 Compose by the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome. Ezra Pound: Make It New31 Any discussion of English verse measure, especially in connection with modern poetry, is further complicated by the issue of variable form. In the minds of a few prosodic theor-izers the principle of regularity of pattern is implied in any definition of verse. How else, they argue, does verse differ from prose. To such doctrinaire exponents, the term "free-verse" 29 Translation by Hazel E. Barnes of a major part of L'£tre  et le neant (Chicago, 1962), p.43. 30 The Complete Works, ed. G.B. Harrison (New York, 1948), p.901. 31 (London, 1934), p.335. 27 is a contradiction. And i t must be admitted that the great mass of English, verse has been built upon some degree of formal regularity, enough, at least, to keep the prosodists happy in their investigations and tabulations of the norms of various types of verse measure. It is not surprising that a theorist would see s t r i c t regularity as a virtue i f we remember that i t is a much simpler undertaking to describe and theorize about regular, predictable patterns than about irregular ones. Attitudes towards regularity, of course, differ from period to period, and more particularly, from individual to individual. Speaking generally, however, we can note that ri g i d l y regular verse patterns become more flexible with use, u n t i l the regularity of the form becomes nothing more than an abstract theory, or, at most, a page convention. The principle of formal v a r i a b i l i t y seems to be always at work. Consider, for example, the development of Anglo-Saxon verse. The so-called "pre-classical" form, from what we can gather from the few remaining fragments that have come down to us, was r i g i d l y linear, the line being made up of two halves each containing two heavily stressed syllables and a varying number of slack syllables, or to use our technical terminology, each half-line was made up of two phonemic clauses. The two short lines were linked by a l l i t e r a t i o n (usually on the f i r s t three 28 heavily stressed syllables) to form the characteristic end-stopped, four-beat, long line. This highly regular verse form, however, gave way to a less r i g i d form in the later classical period by admitting expanded lines which contained more heavily stressed syllables than the usual four, and line endings which ran on without syntactic pause, this last device giving rise to plurilinear structural units of variable length. During the middle part of the classical period this v a r i a b i l i t y was not excessive. But during the later stages of the period, although the bases of the form measure (strongly stressed syllables l i f t e d by a l l i t e r a t i o n , etc.) remained, the regularity of the structural units dis-appeared, in some cases, almost entirely. To such a case Kemp Malone refers in the following passage: Judith, exemplifies the late stage of the run-on style. Here one can hardly speak of plurilinear units at a l l , or indeed of clear-cut units of any kind, apart from the f i t s [[verse paragraphs] . If we follow the punctuation of Wulcker, only 11 of the 350 lines end with a f u l l stop, and three of these mark the end of a f i t . Since the sentences usually begin and end in the middle of a line, the syntactic and a l l i t e r a t i v e patterns rarely coincide at any point, and the matter is preserved en masse, so to speak. The verses give the effect of a never-ending flow, but this continuous effect is gained at a heavy struct-ural c o s t . 3 2 32 "Plurilinear Units in Old English Poetry", RES, XIX (1943); 203-204. 29 Malone's concluding remark is worth noting in that i t implies that structural regularity in verse is equivalent to structural excellence, an attitude which is not shared by the writer of this paper. A parallel shift from regular to variable form can be seen in the development of English blank verse. When Surrey gave us our f i r s t sample of unrhymed iambic pentameter in his translation of the Aeniad he was very careful to mark the end of each of his lines with a distinctive syntactic pause, and at the same time to keep internal pauses to a minimum. That this should be the case is not surprising, since he was eliminating end-rhyme, the most prominent device for marking off the larger structural units of the verse form. Whereas the sense of the line could s t i l l be retained in run-on couplets because the repetition of similar vowel-con-sonant clusters marked the line endings, in this new unrhymed form the whole responsibility for the structural demarcation f e l l on the syntactic pause. And hence, i f regular form was to be maintained, lines had to be fu l l y or at least partially endstopped. When the Elizabethan dramatists took up blank verse as their medium they too tended to use i t as a basis for structural regularity. Gradually, however, they began to treat the line with more f l e x i b i l i t y , allowing run-ons 30 and internal breaks and stops, and hence blank verse lost i t s l i n e a l , and regular, character. It became more and more a form of variable verse measure, the multi-foot structural units being phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs rather than five-foot lines. This development from regular to variable measure i s especially evident in the work of Shake-speare. Compare the regular measure of the following lines, taken from his early Henry VI, Part III: Warwick: I wonder how the king escaped our hands, York: While we pursued the horsemen on the North, He slyly stole away and l e f t his men. Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland, Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat, Cheered up the drooping army, and himself, Lord Cl i f f o r d , and Lord Stafford a l l abreast, Charged our main battle's front and, breaking in Were by the swords of common soldiers slain. Edward: Lord Stafford's father, Duke of Buckingham, Is either slain or wounded dangerously. I cleft his beaver with, a downright blow. That this is true father, behold his blood. (I, i , 1-12) w i t h the variable measure of the following passage, taken from his later Tempest: Prospero: If I have too austerely punished you, Your compensation makes amends. For I Have given you here a third of mine own l i f e , Or that for which I l i v e , who once again I tender to thy hand. A l l they vexations Were but my t r a i l s of love, and thou Hast strangely stood the test. Here, afore Heaven, I r a t i f y this my rich g i f t . 0 Ferdinand, Do not smile at me that I boast her off, For thou shalt find she w i l l outstrip a l l praise And make i t halt behind her;. (IV, i , 1-11) If we consider the use of blank verse since Shakespeare's time in the works of Milton and Wordsworth, for example we w i l l have to admit that i t has remained to this day predominantly a variable form of verse measure. We might even see a certain type of so-called modern "free verse" as blank verse which no longer preserves the old page convention of the five-foot line. 32 PART VII ORGANIC FORM But words came halting forth, wanting inventions stay; Invention, nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows, And others' feet s t i l l seemed but strangers in my way. Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes, Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite, Fool, said my muse to me, look in thy heart and write. Sir Philip Sidney: Astrophel and Stella, I, 9-14. We who dwell on Earth, can do nothing of ourselves; every thing is conducted by Spirits, no less than Digestion or Sleep.... When this Verse was f i r s t dictated to me, I consider'd a Mono-tonous Cadence, like that used by Milton & Shakespeare & a l l writers of English Blank Verse, derived from the modern bondage of Rhyming, to be a necessary and indispensable part of Verse. But I soon found that in the mouth of a true Orator such mono-tony was not only awkward, but as much a bondage as rhyme i t s e l f . I therefore have produced a variety in every line, both of cadences & number of syllables. Every word and every letter is studied and put into i t s f i t place; the t e r r i f i c numbers are reserved for the t e r r i f i c parts, the mild & gentle for the mild & gentle parts, and the prosaic for inferior parts; a l l are necessary to each other. Poetry Fetter'd Fetters the Human Race. Nations are Destroy'd or Flourish, in proportion as Their Poetry, Painting and Music are Destroy'd or Flourish! The Primeval State of Man was Wisdom,- Art and Science. William Blake: "Of the Measure in which Jerusalem is Written" 3 3 When T.S.Eliot t e l l s us that Free Verse was essentially "a revolt against dead form [and] . . . an insistence upon the inner unity which is unique to every poem, against the 33 The Writings of William Blake, ed. Geoffrey Keynes, III (London, 1925), 167. 33 outer unity, which i s typical",34 he is emphasizing the academic attitude towards modern verse that has prevailed for the last forty years. The so-called New Criticism i s , for the most part, a system for analysing and evaluating poetry without regard to the organization of i t s sound-form this organization being, from the point of view of this paper, the very essence of verse. It i s significant that, in the above remark, E l i o t did not mention the possibility of an outer unity which might be (and in free verse often is) as unique as the inner. In this respect Eliot's attitude is typical of the reluctance on the part of many c r i t i c s , and poets themselves for that matter, to recognize the concreteness of variable measure and the validity of organic verse form. The contemporary failure to come to adequate terms with variable measure has resulted, i f we may generalize to some degree, in two quite different schools of present-day poets. On one hand there are those reactionaries who tend to resurrect the old established metrical forms the sonnet, rhymed couplets, or even regular blank verse to use as models for their works. Usually the exponents of this tradition maintain that they are creating a poetic tension by counterpointing the normative 34 The Music of Poetry (Glasgow, 1942), p.26. metrical patterns by the cadence rhythms of their own phrasing. Typical of the attitude of this school is Robert Frost, who has been quoted on several occasions as saying that he would as soon write verse without metre as play tennis with the net down.36 Xn other words, the basic form of the verse pattern is preordained and regular; the poet plays his own game, but abides by the rules and confines his activity to the marked-out area of the tennis court. The variation occurs not in the basic formal measure, but in the ornamentation of i t . At the other extreme there are the doctrinaire exponents of organic verse form. For them the poem shapes i t s e l f not in reference to any abstract or preconceived model, but according to the emotional response of the poet. Anything can happen. The poet himself has no idea of the formal outcome u n t i l the 35 The practice of counterpointing, in i t s various forms, is as old as the metrical tradition i t s e l f , and the theory behind i t is also nothing new, See Hopkins' remarks on "running rhythm", Prose and Poems, pp.7-9. Edgar Allan Poe on "bastard" iambs and trochees in "Rationale of Verse", Complete Works, Vol. 14 (New York, 1902), 209-265. Saints-bury on "equivalent substitution" in Manual. For sci e n t i f i c statement on same subject, see Epstein and Hawkes, Linguistics  and English Prosody. 36 See Conversations, Brooks and Warren. For a typical rejoinder to the remark from the opposition group, see Robert Duncan, "Ideas on the Meaning of Form", Kulture, IV (Fal l , 1961), 73. 35 poem is finished. As Robert Creeley has put i t , "form is an extension of content" 3? a n ( j content, in this sense, is the charge of the poet's expressive energy existing at the moment of creation. The theory of organic form has never been expounded with anything like the detail that has gone into works on traditional prosody. One reason is that there has not been a common set of terms which can be applied to this type of verse form. The result is that there is great confusion about most aspects of variable measure and organic form, even among the poets who practise i t successfully. To some of them, measure is to a large extent a matter of spontaneous intuition; often they break their lines up on the page quite ar b i t r a r i l y , and then disregard line breaks altogether when they read the poem aloud. 3^ In fact, the most embarrassing question that one can ask a contemporary poet of the non-traditional 37 Quoted by Charles Olson in "Projective Verse", New  American Poetry 1945-1960, ed. Donald M. Allan (New York, 1960), p.387. 38 The reader may make the test for himself by comparing the written texts of poems by such poets as Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, or Kenneth Rexroth with, phonograph recordings of the poets' own readings. 36 school is on what basis does he end his lines. Charles Olson, in his much-read essay, "Projective Verse",39 tries to deal with, the question by maintaining that the breath is the basis of true line measure. Olson's idea is interesting and probably sound as far as i t goes, yet ironically i t s value l i e s in the fact that the whole principle is vague enough to be unrestrictive when i t is put into practice by the poet. Another long-time exponent of organic verse form is William Carlos Williams, a man who struggled a l l his l i f e to articulate the basis of his measure, which, he claimed, should not be considered properly "free". As he points out, Whitman with his so-called free verse was wrong: there can be no absolute freedom in verse. You must have a measure to exclude what has to be excluded and to include what has to be included. It is a technical point but a point of vast importance.40 What Williams seems to have arrived at i s a system which might be called "c overt measure", where the units do not depend upon concrete features of the sound sequence i t s e l f . In this regard, 39 New American Poetry, pp.387-397. 40 Letter to Richard Eberhart, Selected Letters, ed. John C. Thirlwall (New York, 1957), p.320. 37 he explains that: The stated syllables, as in the best present day free verse, have become entirely divorced from the beat, that i s the measure. The musical pace proceeds without them. Therefore the measure, that is to say the count, having got r i d of the words, which held i t down, is returned to the music. The words, having been freed, have been allowed to run a l l over the map, "free", as we have mistakenly thought. This-has • amounted to no more (in Whitman and others) than no discipline at a l l . ^ 1 Williams has put his finger on one of the major problems involved with modern free verse form, but he has failed to come up with any real solution to i t . His appeal to "the tune which, the lines (not necessarily the words) make in our ears"^ 2 is much too vague to be of value, like his much-talked about "variable foot" which also has never been ade-quately defined. His concept of "covert" measure seems to side-track the main issue of organic form altogether, because i t goes outside the sound structure of the poem. 41 Letter to Richard Eberhart, Letters, p.326. 42 Ibid. 43 If Williams has made a contribution to modern prosody i t is in his poems rather than in his writings on the subject. Samuel R. Levin, in his most interesting study, Linguistic  Structures in Poetry ('S-Gravenhage, 1962), pp.34-35, suggests that the basis of Williams' measure is syntactic rather than prosodic, a theory which is much, less mysterious than Williams' own utterances on the subject. However, syntactic measure is not directly relevant to the concerns of this paper. 38 If variable measure i s to be the basis of a verse form, i t must necessarily be as "overt" as the old regular measure; i t must be based on some element (or elements) of the sound sequence of the poem, and i f this verse form i s to be con-sidered truly organic, the patterning of these sound elements must relate in some direct way to the immediate emotional, mental and kinesthic state of the poet. The old regular verse forms are certainly not organic. Their measure is based on a stylization of various fixed elements in the language, the best example being word stress in the case of metre. But organic form, i f the term is to have meaning must, in contrast to regular forms^depend upon those speech elements which vary with the speaker's (or poet's) emotional state. Hence, what we have defined as rhetorical stress patterning (page 11) i s a very natural basis for var-iable verse measure. And variable strong-stress verse, the stylization of rhetorical stress patterning, i s therefore one of the most authentically organic verse forms available. 39 PART VIII NOTATION Whatever the intellectual message of articulate language in i t s most general and diffused forms i t carries a mighty burden of emotional meaning. R. H. Stetson: Bases of Phonology' In our so-called c i v i l i z e d l i f e print plays such an important part that educated people are apt to forget language i s primarily speech, i.e. chiefly conversation (dia-logue) , while the written (and printed^, word is only a kind of substitute in-many ways a most valuable, but in other respects a poor one——for the spoken and heard word. Many things^fiave v i t a l impor-tance in speech stress, pitch, colour of the voice, thus especially those elements which give expression to emotions rather than to logical thinking disappear in the comparatively r i g i d medium of writing, or are imperfectly rendered by such means as underlining (it a l i c i z i n g ) and punctuation. Otto Jespersen: The Essentials of English Grammar^5 If strong-stress measure i s as natural to English verse as we have made out in this paper, why has i t not been used more in the past, and why today is i t not recognized as the truly variable measure of modern organic verse form? The answer is 44 (Oberlin, 1945), p.20. 45 (London, 1933), p.17. 40 quite simple. Our writing system does not indicate rhetorical stress patterning, and therefore conventional page layout cannot properly accommodate strong-stress verse. It is inter-esting to note that i t was precisely on these grounds that Edgar Allan Poe attacked Coleridge's "Christabel" experiment: Out of a hundred readers of "Christabel", f i f t y w i l l be able to make nothing of i t s rhythm, while forty-nine of the remaining f i f t y w i l l , with some ado, fancy they com-prehend i t , after the fourth or f i f t h perusal. The one out of the whole hundred who shall both comprehend and admire i t at f i r s t sight must be an unaccountably clever person and I am by far too modest to assume, for one moment, that that very clever person is myself. ° For a l l his sarcasm, Poe i s quite right. There are passages of "Christabel" which are d i f f i c u l t to read without hesitation, at least without some experimentation,on the part of the reader. In the same essay Poe sheds further light on the subject by going on to discuss the strong-stressrhythm as i t occurs in nursery rhymes. Pease porridge hot pease porridge cold Pease porridge in the pot nine days old. Now who of my readers who have never heard this poem pronounced according to the nursery con-ventionality, w i l l find i t s rhythm as obscure as an explanatory note; while those who have heard i t w i l l divide i t thus 46 The Complete Works. Vol. 14 (New York, 1902), p.238. 41 Pease | porridge ) hot I pease I porridge I coldl _^ Pease \ porridge \ in the | pot | nine J daysj old.l Again we must acknowledge Poe's insight. Nursery rhymes, which are definitely a strong-stress verse form, have sur-vived because they come down in the oral tradition, and do not therefore depend upon page transcription for their preservation. This i s also true of popular ballads, another strong-stress verse form, although the rhythm patterns in this case are also preserved in their accompanying melodies, which, are transcribed in musical notation. And in a l l other instances of the success-fu l practice of strong-stress measure there have been special techniques for preserving the rhythmical patterns. In Anglo-Saxon verse the devices seem to have been al l i t e r a t i o n to mark stressed syllables and spaces between the written words to mark every second juncture. Hopkins, the true master of the strong-stress form, was forced to invent a whole system of d i a c r i t i c a l marks to indicate his Sprung Rhythm. Unfortunately, editors are in the habit of leaving out these d i a c r i t i c a l s , and consequently there i s s t i l l a great deal of unnecessary confusion today about the nature of Hopkins' measure. If we turn again to Poe's essay, we note his comment that: 47 The Complete Works, op. c i t . , p.238. 42 The chief thing in the way of this species of rhythm [strong-stress] is the necessity which i t imposes upon the poet of travelling in constant company with his compositions, so as to be ready at a moment's notice, to avail himself of a well understood poetical l i c e n s e — t h a t of reading aloud one's own doggerel.48 Today, of course, the poet may also avail himself of the phonograph and tape recorder, and the fact that these modern devices have in the past few years made contemporary poetry more and more an oral art form, accounts for the increasing use by contemporary poets of variable strong-stress verse measure. Even so, the bulk of this verse s t i l l ends up on the page, and here, as we have noted, i t s formal structure disap-pears, or at best, is greatly obs^ired. Various poets have tried to work out systems of verse notation, yet none have hit upon one that i s satisfactory in correlating the essential rhythmic form of the poem's sound structure with the space design of the poem on the page. In consequence, the writer has found i t expedient to work out a system of verse notation which he feels can handle the variable strong-stress measure of his own verse. 48 The Complete Works, op. c i t . . p.239. 43 PART IX STACKED-VERSE "What do you say", Mr. Bounderby, with, his hat in his hand, gave a beat upon the crown at every l i t t l e division of his sentences, as i f i t were a tambourine, "to his being seen night after night watch the Bank? to his lurking about there after dark? To i t striking Mrs. Sparsit that he could be lurking for no good..." Charles Dickens: Hard Times'^ When i t comes to reproducing the melody and rhythm of speech, typography i s helpless and the notation of ordinary music worse than useless.... The.patterns of the voice traced by the oscillograph are much closer to what a proper poetry notation would be. Northrop Frye: "Lexis and Melos"50 Stacked-Verse is a system of verse notation designed to accommodate on the page the formal rhythms of my own poems which are written in variable strong-stress measure. Specifi-cally i t indicates such essential features of English speech, as terminal junctures, primary stress, and isochronism (see pages 7-9 for explanation of these terms), and relies on the 49 (New York, 1958), p. 169. F i r s t published Lonibn, 1854. 50 In Sound and Poetry, English Institute Essays 1956 (New York, 1957), p . x x i i i . 44 syllable cluster or "phonemic clause" (see page 8) as i t s basic unit of measure. Correlating, where possible, these speech features with the traditional terms of versification, we come up with the following set of definitions. The basic unit of stacked-verse is the STACK-FOOT, a group of syllables containing one primary stress and ending in a terminal juncture. Each stack-foot i s written horizontally on the page, with, no more than one stack-foot appearing on a single level. In particular cases, however, the stack-foot is preceded, followed, or replaced by an OUTRIDER, a group of syllables ending in a terminal juncture but containing no primary stress. The terminal juncture which separates the outrider from an accompanying stack-foot is signalled on the page by either a space or a regular juncture signalling punctua-tion mark (.,:;?'. ) . The STACK proper or STACK-VERSE is a group of one or more stack-feet which on the page are strung on a vertical STRESS-AXIS, a line which, passes through, the f i r s t letter of the vowel nucleus of the heavily stressed syllable in each stack-foot. Naturally the stress-axis does not touch the outriders. The stresses along the axis are ISOCHRONOUS for the duration of the stack, that i s to say there i s an approxi-mately equal time interval between each, primary stress regard-less of the number of intervening syllables and junctures. 45 At the end of the stack there i s a d e f i n i t e break i n the isochronous beat. A STACK-STANZA i s made up of a number of consecutive stacks using a common stre s s - a x i s . Because the strong-stress measure which. Stacked-Verse accommodates i s a s t y l i z a t i o n of normal English, speech rhythms, the notation system can handle any English speech rhythm, be i t i n verse or not. I w i l l , for example, stack the analysed passages of speech which, we were using for i l l u s t r a t i o n e a r l i e r i n t h i s paper (page 9 ) . The f i r s t passage, being made up of a single phonemic clause, would be indicated i n a one-foot stack: Henry has eaten Jack's elephant. The second passage, containing two phonemic clauses, would be handled i n a two-foot stack: H^nry has eaten Jack's elephant. And the t h i r d , where the speaker's emotion breaks the sound sequence up into four isochronously r e l a t e d phonemic clauses, would make up a four-foot stack: Henry has eaten Jack's elephant'. The poems in the following collection, therefore are written in Stacked-Verse. The forms of the poems themselves are based on variable stong-stress measure as i t has been defined and discussed in the above essay. PROCESS The fxrst time T i I s^ w a diesel locomotive we were across the line; ill I shouted and my father drove into a ditch. Coughing up the residue of past intensities, Measuring i t out the page. 48 AMBERGRIS: A STATEMENT ON SOURCE Over spire and flag-pole Past aerial and chimney-pot Shrouded in nylon Or naked in the wind With clouded eye and scAr of autopsy-Ghostly floaters on the tide of morning These clotted forms in the ectoplasmic dawn To shed sleeve or thigh-bone Wrist or meaty calf, To l i t t e r pavements and corrupt the ai r : (continued) Rotting noblemen and b4arers of wisdom Leprous mimbers of a garbled vision. 50 COMPOSITION Frost melting in the sun, Bright blue f a l l morning sky s t i l l nippy-cold; run d<j>wn to get water; I Two whiskey-jacks in the brush, Skim of ice at the lake edge, I pack the water back up the t r a i l . Fried egg and bacon smell coming from the tent, My old did with matted hair and grey whisker stubble (continued) Bends over the gas stove in his woolly undervest; he Fries rice, boils coffee; we eat. An hour earlier even before sunrise we were lying there Warm in our sleeping-bags Listening to someone Chopping wood on the other side of the valley, Each stroke distinct, Echoing once in the distance; "Carries for miles when i t s this cold, he said. While the tent-canvas dries in the sun (continued) I go d6wn to the lake and shoot at a can with the twenty-two. He leans on a stump and writes something in his book. NOW What about now? I mean I remember the day my dog died, I mean I came home from school and my mother told me they'd taken him to the vet. Can you imagine that? V. mean What kind of an end was that? And what value that l i f e now? THE SCHOLAR AT FIVE Cold a i r And luminous brilliance of pale blue sk/jr behind silhouette f i r trees... A l l this a j o l t i after that Pressing atmosphere of the library stacks. New moon. And vapor-trail rubric over the s t r a i t . FORMULA "The whole thing i s ordered," he said. "You get exactly what you deserve. It A l l works outI" And i t was funny that f i r s t time-him struggling and grunting underneath the tractor That was before I knew he was actually planning to be a missionary. Sad ^fterwards of course^— When the roadway f e l l in again and Charley and Alec got i t . Sad To witness the power of faith under those conditions THINGS T a i l - l i g h t s on the br idge ; Somewhere squeal ing t i r e s ; The f a in t pulse of tug-engines o f f the i n l e t ; Even the instant f l i c k of a swallow past the street-lamp •Are nothing without a center , Awake, exposed, su f f e r ing i t a l l : The witness, i * the subject , the Me sh iver ing on the b i l cony , aware Of Revat i pregnant and re tch ing i n the background And the s l i gh t w i n d . . . (continued) Over the roof-tops among flashing neon signs the clock-face on the distant city-ha11 Is a small splotch of red. RECALL It is quietly awesome to be Born at the same time and grow Up under the same approximate conditions > i c i i Espe ally i f one 1s memory i s at a l l functional And blurts out the same kind of music upon occasion. But why speak of i t here? Those of us who are of i t know; The others have no claim, no right. (continued) Should they come upon ' our secret rhythms Thly w i l l perceive only an insignificant Hiss of words in the wind. RESIDUE He was flying DH9As then, rickety land-planes over the Channel And later in Russia For money and excitement or perhaps prestige. "Never got over •being scared," he told me Open cockpit, no chute, no radio. And a few old snaps Of machines Yp he cracked before his court-martial, Nothing else l e f t now but these, I And his words fluttering around in my mind. PRESENCE Jolted by an imagined gl:.mpse of long black hair Or that tingling on my. neck like breath You lurking in the murky nowhere I Just beyond my ragged rim ,of li g h t . THAW Brown patches growing - in the grimy snow, Smell of new earth: SpringI And me digging out my ball-glove or oiling up the bike in the basement, Though, out on the rj>ad the kids are s t i l l playing shinny in the slush. But now here in this Sunless city of well-swept streets and immutable concrete I find myself packing in a crate of books the used-book dealer, Getting barely enough, a jug of Berry-Cup and half a tank of gas. F A M I L Y Angelo ducking his head below the dash, Puffing to catch the flicker of Ivo's lighter; Me beside them in the front seat watching the road twist away to the l e f t . . . f The car speeding straight on End-over-end once slowly waiting for the and one and two r o l l s gently and three and stop We climbed up from beach level and the wreck, Noticing where the car had crashed down through the brush: (continued) 64 Small trees sheared r i g h t o f f , A scrape on the great douglas f i r by the side of the road. Seven f o r t y - f i v e M^ t r i a Ludavicci, her f i v e brothers Struggling up i n the r ^ i n onto the highway; .M. and me, Mrs. Ludavicci at Benediction; Old Ludavicci at home, Drinking his wine alone i n h i s b i g house. IN BED BEFORE SUNSET Smell of p ine-p i tch and bush-rat And outside the cabin Bird-noise and ta lk Of t r i p - l i n e s and hor ses And l a t e r that n ight one mosquito whining ins ide the window-netting DEPARTURE Not emptiness or sorrow but turmoil In that house of vampires. But things w i l l gradually settle down. See now their pale eyes pressed against the window, Their tender proboscides twitching beneath the door. PRECIPITATION I saw a big brown g i r l in the 2-Minute-Car-Wash i opposite the English Linen Shop. She was straddling a Caddy f i n , stretched out trying to get at a spot of chrome on the other side When the foreman came up, winked at me, and giosed her with the hose. 1 There she was against the fender squeezing her sponge, her wet jeans almost bursting... On the way back to my apartment i t clouded up And was raining hard before I reached the door. LEVITATION Viscous shadows of city, Vacant newsstands, Chairs on the tables in the dark cafeteria. Ghostly hands among my guts. Menace of cj>ld dawn. Suddenly a Sanitary-Unit spray-truck rounding the corner and Six or seven uniformed members of the flanking broom-team Flush me up a fl i g h t of stairs. 69 SITUATION Coffee beans in the morning sun, A giant hog asleep between the trays, And once Alfonso climbed the h i l l And talked and stayed. And in the afternoon we sat in the finca i sipping coco-nuts and rum With faint guaplngo rhythms drifting up from some marimba band down in the village, Music on the wind, that was enough. Small-talk at the s t a l l of Mama Lupita; Funny stories over at the cantina; (continued) 70 A ride to Catamaco, i reflections on the lake. And because i t was Sunday night The big band had already set-up in the plaza And everybody was there jumping up to mambos and cha-cha-chas, The trumpets bouncing off the cathedral wall, crackling into the night. It was part of the good-life: Friends and their families, A l l you could eat and drink every day. And there was love in that town . i too, (continued) 71 But that was largely a matter of brothers and guns. Of dying y l u n g among f i s t s and curling l i p s . THE REQUISITION OF CATABOLISM You say , "There I've caugl ht you at i t again breathing!" try to hold my breath. But that too has i t s own punishment, I Like any act of silence. DECOMPOSITION Too much. It i s time now to dr<j>p i t a l l quit. He lays his face in his arm-pit and refuses to breathe. As for his position in the room, he stands hunched against the f i l i n g cabinet. Must he leave his bones stacked neatly in the corner? His intestines coiled up steaming beside the desk? Oh i t i s that "enough-enough," sickness Nothing nothing nothing thankyou. 74 Having failed to achieve total evanescence through creative detumescence I He now decides merely to decompose on the spot. So please, i f you w i l l s l i p his suspenders His bulk w i l l immediately crumple to the floor. Yes He w i l l gently let go, end. VISION My eyes definitely going now, With those kids on tricycles just blobs of color JL And the mountains a mere approximation... But remember | George Shearing blind No j)ther piano like i t at a l l . Remember Blind guitarist on roaring second-class-Mexico-City-bus, Braced, ragged, his boy collecting centavos.. The blind old beggar singing pyrest Malaguefia MEASURE Melody curls from the flute in the evening air; Mind , slips to the fingers I Pure sound spreading on the wind. Notes suppress words, deny them. I experience freedom in this loosening of the brain-knot: Seconds of joy1. Words control my inner dimension through a sequence of definitions; It's a process of containment; M, ake es for unity, but enforces a limitation. (continued) 77 Words for everything, Though, frequently there's that blockage between gut and pennib: I Maybe I need a transformer in the arm to relieve the congestion. Meditations too are strong-armed by words I concede to them now, thinking That man's l i f e f u t i l e as A melody on the evening wind. POETIC It is dangerous to think in a poem and doubly so to dream. I At night words grow too bxg for the man I know, Having strained my limbs in quixotic attempts to encompass them. Recount for yourself those frantic apprehensions of the vision-in-the-glass-of-beer, myopic miscalculations of rudimentary organs and Other n A t u r a l phenomena: I Poems j jumping from the t i p s of my immature f i n g e r s , Reams o f conjured testimony f a l l i n g i n disorder under my desk... Value lives in the mind of an economist. Beware (continued) Twisting metaphor and hardening animal matter. The authentic dance is the wobbly stance of a li v i n g man. IN-GROUP Ne- on e ran up and shook Christ's hand. The only others with, that kind of inclination Had theirs nailed down too. 81 VASTATION IN THE STACKS There i s the agglutinous WORD Which, from the beginning extends in the dark, F i l l i n g the mouths and ears of men, Stopping their blood. Interval or intellect? Feet in the shade of i t ; Lethal cryptology there on the shelf. Hysterical signs in the dusty a i r ! Hand, and flickering synapse: My faltering rhythms from under the rack. (continued) But I would usurp that adhesive gidhead of W( IRD, Making my ppem with a knife. IT The inane justice of gratuitous insanity, the poem Crashes down during the night of the big wind And is discovered i . next morning among fallen branches and other debris, A thing apart To be used or discarded m i l Or kept on the antel as decoration Or thrown into the f i r e 84 THE CHARNEL-HOUSE OF DHARMA Obscuring the sun, st e r i l i z i n g the atmosphere, the mystical condom slumps in the sky a menace to geese. Blister there. Bylbous Abnormity, Staggered vision above my vision, 0 Rubbery Muzak of Sphere, you monster my jab I But old Rumpelstiltskin who was then on guard, neglected to dub me INCON-CEIVABLE With, a f l i c k of his forensic cathode, as I crept by (Eyes masked with polaroid goggles, my seven apertures bunged with sprigs of rhubarb DEFENSE DE CRACHER); (continued) The upshot being that I worked on fncog-nito, i * shamelessly inscrutable to scholars. And now as distant reports and repeated detonations Omen this nebulous structure of cosmic disavowal, I (Clad only in tartan jock and white bow-tie) jump up my cork-lined lab The subversive man with a portent device: My tongue-struck charge of utter CANT Exploding towards urge of absolute BANG! 86 THE YOGI AS HUMORIST Confusion The man won't bleed. They have jabbed him several times in the arm Without producing a drop. They try the other arm. Nothing'. They cannot extract the needle. Three of them are straining at the hose. Now the head-nurse (distinguished - as ijisual by a cr|sp white uniform and red face) Pushes through the astonished group, (continued) Fixes her bloody regard upon the prostrate form and I S l ips the needle out with an a i r of subdued a l a c r i t y . Bending ?ver edled aonor, She examines the dry i n c i s i o n i n the f l e s h . Without warning a th ick j e t of yellow b i l e hi^ts her in the eye. FRIDAY AT THE EX His beard knotted in a make-shift l o i n - c l o t h , His i n n s around a sagging cardboard-box h a l f - f i l l e d with cake-mix samples and r a f f l e - s l i p s from hearing-aid f i rms , He stumbles over empty bottles, Apple cores and crumpled program leaves An escapee from the Shrine C i r cus . As the Whip cracks, the Zoomo-Plane takes people up and the Snake gives them six-minute t h r i l l s , he whispers: "Th i s midway i s n ' t l i censed for wine, (continued) 89 But they can spin candy out of flesh," And gies on tossing hoops at cupie dolls and panda bears. Now he crosses his legs in f u l l lotus Just behind the Crown & Anchor stand Where agents display thirty brands of silver-base deodorant l And pitchmen ramble in their stal l s about a fountain-pen that writes on walls. But the crowd from the Fun-House kick him and jeer, (continued) Though the star contortionist (having always been good at guessing weight) pivots -on one pointed breast, And wipes her eyes with her tattooed heels, While the sky streaks red above the row of floodlights, I And they jostle him up the h i l l towards the three Ferris Wheels 91 STUNTMAN Th.i.s time in the darkness a twelve-foot pleasure-launch sleek and gleaming white, The crew (both male and female) in bikinis, laughing; And in t w T two water-skiers doing acrobatics. At the back of the boat instead of an out-board engine a rn^n has been bolted into place, He kicks his feet in frantic propulsion. L His arms are fastened to the steering cables. Blood trickles into the water. His neck seems broken too. (continued) But now there i s scarcely any noise For the biat is moving faster I than the speed of sound. APPOINTMENT The nightmare dog-pack prowls the suburb. Yellow-eyed, snarling, they set their teeth, on parked cars and lamp-posts, or urinate on the darkened shopping center. Yards and sidewalks l i e t<|)rn open by their ravening But they have not yet turned directly on the homes. A black s l i t opens in the sky. Look, A l i t t l e boy is climbing out of an abandoned bus. REMAINS Have you ever not iced how a dead man's personal a r t i c l e s Take on a c l r t a i n contentious a i r As i f they ' re offlnded for being l e f t And are making things d i f f i c u l t out of sp i t e . What to do with them? Books a ren ' t a problem, but what about These other scraps of uselessness: A piece of shabby l a ce , This o ld phltograph of God-knows-who i with something sc r ibb led on the back, Or that ^finished manuscript An inch in dust and dedicated To his son? Imagine that1. And him with no family at a l l . 96 PROTOTYPES Consider the deaths of Indians in T-V westerns How undisturbingly spectacular: or over the high precipice Always at the right moment. Yes everybody should d:.e like a T-V Indian On the face of i t only a brief aaaaaah. Falling off horses out of trees r even st<j>ne-lipped silence And no tears and no great w^ste of ammunition. CONTRA DICTION At worst I think poetry only a hobby, An activity similar to The youthful assembly of silent model planes My mother commenting: So constructive and i t teaches something too. My father at his guns, clearing his throat in reply. THEOLOGY HAIKU Taking God a l l around like a dough-nut •I Oscar saw into the heart of things 99 THE SENSATIONALIST If you stand on a h i l l and open your side with a spear Or wrap your guts around a tree It's n(j)t going to enhance your place in the community Or even strengthen your character And chances are that while the crowd gathers and the reporters are trying to get the details and the camera-men asking for another reverse shot Some smart-guy w i l l be ransacking your house ~ And j o y o u s l y giving your wife the best screwing she's had In years (continued) And however things turn out Whether your kids go insane or die or grow up to be respected torturers I You'll have the satisfaction of knowing i t ' s a l l your fault And by Christ that's a damned uncomfortable position 101 REPORT Watching the ambiguous people turning away from the ^nti-Nuclear-Arms petitioners, I I am f i l l e d with wordless imperative. She and I are s t i l l l i v i n g in this house on the corner. In these days of vapor-trails and statistics"" We raise a few flowers and children as fast as we can. HOMAGE TO MACHADO Watch i t Driver I There isn't any I . J road. There's only the sound of tires in the night. You see, Driver, you make i t by burning i t up, Yeah, you and your horn and your headlights Jabbing into the black —that's the highway. But don't bother to look in the rear-view mirror, Driver, Because i t ' s a t r a i l of exhaust. A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 103 Bowering, George. "Dance to a Measure," Kulture, XIII (Spring, 1964), 3-14. Brooks, Cleanth, and Robert Penn Warren, eds. Conversations ••'on the Craft of Poetry. New York, 1961. Campion, Thomas. Observations in the Art of English Poesie, 1602. G. B. Harrison, ed. Reprinted New York, 1925. Chatman, Seymore. "Robert Frost's 'Mowing': An Inquiry into Prosodic Structure," Discussions of.Poetry: Rhythm and Sound, ed. George Hemphill. Boston, 1961, pp.83-92. De Groot, A.W. "Phonetics in i t s Relation to Aesthetics," - Manual of Phonetics, ed. L. Kaiser. Amsterdam, 1957, pp.385-400. Duncan, Robert, "ideas on the Meaning of Form," Kulture, I, iv, (Fa l l , 1961), 60-74. Eli o t , T.S. The Music of Poetry. Glasgow, 1942. Epstein, Edmund L., and Terence Hawkes. Linguistics and  English. Prosody, Studies in Linguistics, Occasional Papers 7. Buffalo, 1959. Frye, Northrop. "Lexis and Melos," Sound and Poetry: English Institute Essays, 1956.-New York, 1957, pp.iv-xxvii. Gascoigne, George. From "Certain Notes of Instruction Concerning the Making of Verse or Rime in English," reprinted in Hemphill; Rhythm and Sound, pp.1-3, from Elizabethan C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. G.Gregory Smith. 2 vols. London, 1904, I, 49-54. Halpern, Martin. "On the Two Chief Metrical Modes in English," PMLA. LXXVII. i i i , (1962), 177-186. Hopkins, Gerard Manley. The Selected Poems and Prose, ed. W. H. Gardiner. Harmondsworth, 1953. Jefferson, Thomas. From "Thoughts on English Prosody (1786)," Hemphill, Rhythm and Sound, pp.20-25. Jespersen, Otto. "Notes of Meter," Linguistica. Coperhagen, 1933, pp.247-274. La Driere, Craig. "Structure, Sound, and Meaning," Sound and Poetry: English Institute Essays, 1956. New York, 1957, pp.85-108. Levin, Samuel R. Linguistic Structures in Poetry. 'S-Gravenhage, 1962. Malone, Kemp. "Plurilinear Units in Old English Poetry," RES; XIX, 74 (1943), 201-4. Olson, Charles. "Projective Verse." New American  Poetry 1945-1960, ed. Donald M. Allen. New.York, 1960, pp.386-397. Pace, George B. "The Two Domains: Meter and Rhythm," PMLA, LXXVI (1961), 413-419. Poe, Edgar Allan. "Rational of Verse," Complete Works. Vol. 14, New York, 1902, pp.209-265; Pound, Ezra. ABC of Reading. London, 1934. Saintsbury, George. Historical Manual of English  Prosody. London, 1910. Shapiro, Karl. A Bibliography of Modern Prosody. Baltimore, 1948. Trager, George L. and Henry Lee Smith Jr. Outline  of English Structure, Studies in Linguistics, Occasional Papers 3. Normand, Oklahoma, 1951. Williams, William Carlos. Selected Letters of William  Carlos Williams, ed. John C. Thulwall. New York, 1957. Whitehall, Harold. Review of George L. Trager and Henry Lee Smith, An Outline of English. Structure, in Kenyon Review, XIII (1951) 710-714. Whitehall, Harold. "From Linguistics to Poetry," Sound  and Poetry: English Institute Essayr, 1956. New York 1957, pp.134-145. Whitehall, Harold, and Archibald A. H i l l . "A Report on the Language-Literature Seminar," Readings in Applied English Linguistics, Harold-B. Allan, ed. New York, 1958, pp.394-397. Wordsworth, William. "Preface to Lyrical Ballads, 1800. Reprinted in English Romantic Prose and Poetry, ed. R. Noyes. New York, 1956, pp.357-367. 


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