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Can you explain the meter and rhythm of this poem and other literary devices? "Eating...

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persianimmortal | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM via web

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Can you explain the meter and rhythm of this poem and other literary devices?

"Eating Sin" by Michael Sharkey:

A man began to eat his order of fish, and the ghost of the fish arose and spoke. Forgive me, it said, please hear me. I died in despair, which is, as you know, the worst of the deadly sins. As I slowly suffocated in the alien air, I gave up hope of salvation, and so died without the consolation of religion. In your compassion and mercy, have a Mass said for me, and pray for my soul. With that, the ghost of the fish vanished, and the man, congratulating himself on possessing the carcass of such a remorseful creature, tucked in.

 

 

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Kay Morse | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM (Answer #1)

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This poem is a stanzaic paragraph. These are always a bit difficult to analyze for meter and rhythm. In fact, meter does not apply to stanzaic paragraphs because meter defines the length of a poetic line. Lines can be spondees, trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, hexameter and on up a couple of more lengths. There are no separate lines in the above because it is all one prose-type paragraph. Rhythm, on the other hand can be found in accord with the natural rhythm of the English language, which naturally inclines to an iambic rhythm. This means the emphasis is on the second syllable of a word or the second mono-syllabic word of a sentence. Variations to rhythm do occur, but you can see the iambs in the opening:

  • A MAN begGAN to EAT his

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