Discuss the format of "Love Poem for my Country," including repetition and rhyme scheme.

"Love Poem for my Country" has an irregular rhyme scheme and an irregular meter based very loosely on iambic trimeter. The poem relies on the repetition of "my country is for" at the beginning of each stanza and on the last to create a sense of rhythm and structure.

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Sandile Dikeni's "Love Poem for My Country" has an irregular rhyme scheme. The meter is based very loosely on a three-beat line, with the stress falling on the second syllable of each foot or two syllable unit. This rhyme scheme is called iambic trimeter, and we can see it in the first line of the poem:

My COUNtry IS for LOVE

However, while using it as a base, Dikeni quickly breaks that meter.

Dikeni instead creates rhythm through repetition, using a form of anaphora, which is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive lines. Dikeni modifies his anaphora to begin each stanza except the last with "My country is for," sometimes putting these words on one line and sometimes breaking them between lines. Beginning each stanza with "my country" not only creates rhythm but causes the last (very short) stanza, to stand out all the more for beginning with the word "we," emphasizing unity. Dikeni's speaker also repeats "so says" in stanzas one and two, tying the two stanzas together before altering this phrase to "so talk" in stanza three.

The only instance of rhyme in the poem is internal, with the words "health" and "wealth" rhyming in the second line in stanza four.

The jaggedness of the meter and lack of a conventional rhyme scheme underscore the poem's break with conventional notions of patriotism. The speaker's patriotism is rooted not in his country's government, which he protested against, but in its natural beauty, a beauty that existed long before the current government came into being.

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