What is the meter and rhyme scheme of "Break of Day in the Trenches"?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Isaac Rosenberg’s “Break of Day in the Trenches” is unusual among the British poetry of World War I in that Rosenberg was the son of a poor Jewish immigrant unlike the better known war poets who were upper middle or upper class products of public school and Oxbridge educations. The prosodic technique of the poem is unusual for the Georgians, lacking the polished traditional shape of better known poems by Owens and Brooke, and looking more towards the modernist cadences of Pound and Williams.

The poem is unrhymed free verse. Most of the lines are either trimeter or tetrameter, in a generally rising rhythm (iambs and anapaests), but the rhythmical pattern is basically irregular, with line breaks working rhetorically rather than metrically, in the manner of much imagist verse.


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