Short Stories and Other Narratives

Poem: To Find a Brother

So here is one of the scholarship pieces I worked on this week. I had written this poem a couple months ago as extra credit for a class I was taking, but I spent several days this week trying to fix find better metaphors and fix the meter. In the end, little of the poem stayed the same (especially in the second stanza.) Unfortunately, I am not a natural poet, so I really had to work on the meter.

This poem is a petrarchan sonnet (abbaabba cdcdcd) and  follows strict iambic pentameter (or at least, it should.) I wrote the poem based on a story I had written several years ago about a royal brother and sister, so it uses several fantasy names. Both Athllyn and Raeglen are pronounced with a penultimate stress (so you stress the first syllable.) This should keep the meter of the poem.

Please feel free to give feedback, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

"To Find a Brother: To Find a King" PoemTo Find a Brother: To Find a King

By Gabrielle Massman

  • How came thy faithless flight, O Athllyn’s heir?
  • Why leave thy sister here, O brother mine?
  • Here is thy home; far Raeglen is not thine.
  • So why doth their king have thy fervent care?
  • With home behind, I followed in thy err.
  • For when the bright sun flies on feet of hind,
  • The moon doth follow till they do align,
  • Traversing the dark, till joined in skies fair.
  • On foreign ground, did our paths again cross.
  • Thy royal scepter but a broken sword;
  • Thy only crown was blood, a fatal loss.
  • Amid the battle, my screams went ignored,
  • Alone, I languish in this night of dross
  • Without my brother and my prince adored.

10 thoughts on “Poem: To Find a Brother”

  1. You need to work a bit more on the meter. When I read it in iambs, some of the words sound odd, and it just doesn’t flow right. Here is the most obvious one in the first stanza (and the stanzas really shouldn’t be separated, since you are going for sonnet): “Traversing the dark, till joined in skies fair.” I don’t know if this foot even has a name, but this line works best with the stressing non-stressed-non.


    1. I had a bad feeling that my meter still was not right (though I literally checked the stress on every multiple syllable word in the dictionary, and it appears to be fine.) I can sort of see that there is an issue with the line you mentioned, but I am not sure your “stressed/non/stressed/non” suggestion actually describes it. “Traversing” is three syllables, and a single word cannot have two stressed syllables in it, and the dictionary suggests that the stress in on the middle syllable– though it can be on both. Honestly, I am not entirely sure if I can do anything else to fix the meter– I have used all the tricks I can think of, and it is still bothering me.


      1. You misunderstood my suggestion. What I was saying was that it would work best as “non/stressed/non non/stressed/non non/stressed/non”


      2. Okay. I see. I don’t believe that I could change the meter from iambic to amphibrach (that is what you are suggesting– I just looked up the name.) Isn’t a sonnet (especially a petrarchan one) always in iambic?


      3. No, it doesn’t HAVE to be in iambs. It usually is, and the pentameter appears to be changed more often than the iambs, but it doesn’t have to be iambic.


  2. Great job, Gabrielle! Interesting iambic pentameter… never really seen that before. 🙂 It’s probably just me being weird, but every time I see that knight picture I do a double take because I think it’s the winter soldier. 😛


    1. I know, the picture made me take a double take, too, but it was the only copyright free picture that really fit the poem 😉
      Would you mind elaborating on your first comment? I don’t really understand. Iambic pentameter is a pattern never changes; it is a pattern of five “unstressed-stressed” syllables. Are there parts that don’t read like iambic pentameter, or have you never heard of the pattern before? I am just trying to understand 😉


      1. Okay, the rhyming pattern (abbaabbacdcdcd.) That is actually different from the iambic pentameter (which is the beats.) Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool, too, when I learned about it in a class I took last year, so I thought I would try it!


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