Explain in 150 words what is different in terms of the structure and form in both "I've Always Lived Across the Street" by John Whyte & "Three Limericks" by John Robert Colombo. Use evidence...

Explain in 150 words what is different in terms of the structure and form in both "I've Always Lived Across the Street" by John Whyte & "Three Limericks" by John Robert Colombo. Use evidence from each poem to support your responses.

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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John Whyte's "I've Always Lived Across the Street" is a great, fun poem to read.  A reader would need to read it for its content rather than its rhythm and meter.  The reason for that is the poem is written in free verse.  That means there is no rhyme scheme or regular meter.  

Let's look at the rhyme scheme.  If you were to chart out the first 10 lines of the poem, the rhyme scheme would look like this: ABCDEFFGBH.  As you can see there is no regular rhyme to the poem.  There are two rhymes in those 10 lines, but Whyte makes no attempt to have any sort of regular, reoccurring rhyme. If we look at the meter and check the syllable count, the first 10 lines look like this: 4444546345.  The first four lines indicate the possibility of dimeter, but lines like "the disappointment did not dissuade me" clearly show Whyte is not making an attempt to stick with four syllables.  

The other structure element would be stanza organization. The poem is one big long stanza.  

When I was younger, I never enjoyed poems like that. I didn't understand how they could be called poems if they didn't have rhyme, rhythm and meter, or stanzas.  I felt it was more prose than poetry.  Whyte's poem is a poem, though, because it condenses so much thought and emotion into so few words. 

"Three Limericks" by John Robert is the complete opposite of Whyte's poem.  A limerick is a very tight form of poetry.  It has rules about a specific rhyme scheme (AABBA) and meter.  The meter is not as tight as a sonnet, which is 10 syllables per line.  Colombo's limericks show the standard 5-line stanza with lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyming.  Lines 3 and 4 also rhyme with each other.  Lines 1, 2, and 5 are between 8-12 syllables, which is very loose.  But lines 3 and 4 are always fewer syllables than the other lines.  Colombo also sticks closely to anapests as indicated by lines like "in the gunpowder jar."  

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