Tetrameter and Pentameter - War Zone

Today we are moving to a new metric scheme that looks like this:

Tetrameter - a
Tetrameter - a
Pentameter - b
Tetrameter - c
Tetrameter - c
Pentameter - b

So we start with a rhyming tetrameter couplet of the sort we have already practised (2 rhyming lines of 4 syllables each), followed by a line with five stresses. Then another rhyming couplet followed by a five stress line that matches the rhyme in line 3.

The prompt is “war zone” - good luck!

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The Chaplain walked in, missing a hand
He sat beside me and ate some ham
He noticed how I’ve missed the service he holds
I flicked away gnats and oiled up my gun
My muscles aching so I couldn’t run
What use to join for those who don’t have souls?


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We tiptoe across the shattered debris
Sulphur and smoke fills the air that we breathe
Our houses nor hearts can ever be fully repaired
A piercing ringing in muffled ears
Too much in shock to fall into tears
Man becomes monster in a world of heartless despair

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Haha I really don’t know what to make of this piece. The start is almost a comical take, and then it becomes deeper - perhaps the comedy is adding an element of deliberate absurdity?

Anyway - you’re doing really well with the syllables - just three days to go now!!

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I really like this. That second line, to me, seems to lose a little rhythm. I would like it to be more flowy, I don’t know, maybe “Sulphur and smoke that chokes as we breathe” or something. Not trying to re-write yours, just giving an example. Really well done!

As for mine: Yeah, I don’t really know. My granddad was a cook in the army, my friend was a chaplain, so I thought it would be a fun scene to have an infantry soldier meet a chaplain in the mess hall. Ha, not super deep.

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The bombs fall fast and scar the ground
Their eardrums burst from hellish sound
as soldiers lay down their life and limb far from home
The mud filled boots strain legs and souls
are torn from bodies to achieve safe mens goals
its just one more page in the deceased mens tome

This ones a tricky one!


Nice stuff Hugh! Scar is a great word to apply to the ground. Something isn’t quite right with line 3, as “their limb” would imply they only have one limb. Maybe we could make both plural? “As soldiers lay down their lives and limbs”. Or alternatively take out the their for “as solders lay down life and limb”. Line 4 has three unstressed syllables “to achieve” here which doesn’t flow optimally. I really like the concept though of them losing their legs and souls for people sitting around desks - very powerful. Likewise with idea that they are just names in a book - excellent stuff well done!

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Good pick up on the life and limb part! Youre right i think lives and limbs is a more correct line. And line 5 in my head read like

da DUM da DUM da DUM da da DUM

However like that bodies is read as just one syllable which might just be my aussie accent hahaha.

Those first three lines are so dern powerful. I really like it. I like the wordplay of boots and souls (like the sole of the boot). Great job.