Sapphic

The sapphic dates back to ancient Greece and is named for the poet Sappho. She left behind many fragments of poems written in an unmistakable meter. The form consists of any number of four-line stanzas. The first three lines contain two trochees, a dactyl, and then two more trochees. The fourth line contains one dactyl followed by one trochee. The short fourth line, called an adonic, offers either a rest or quick turn to the poem, or even a conclusion. Although the main building blocks of the sapphic are trochees ( ¯ ˘ ) and dactyls ( ¯ ˘ ˘ ), there is some flexibility with the form as when a spondee ( ¯ ¯ ) replaces both the second and last foot of each line.

A Sapphic

Sapphic verses, named for the Grecian poet
Sappho, build on trochees and dactyls. (Spondees
Sometimes give a twist to the poem's tempo.)
Rhyme doesn't matter.

Counting stanzas? Don't even bother with it!
Meter matters most of all. Lastly comes the
Final feature ending a stanza unit
Called an adonic.

Classical Sapphics

A Saturnalian Sapphic

Saturn's lectisternium sets the tenor;
Loosened bonds are license to wager, revel.
Cries of "Io!" resound in the city's households.
Master is servant.

Princeps' playful pestering musters laughter;
Dicing, feasting, boisterous drinking heighten.
Soon enough the merriment wanes and ceases.
Saturn's departed.

Title

trochee + trochee + dactyl + trochee +trochee
trochee + trochee + dactyl + trochee +trochee
trochee + trochee + dactyl + trochee +trochee
dactyl + trochee

trochee + trochee + dactyl + trochee +trochee
trochee + trochee + dactyl + trochee +trochee
trochee + trochee + dactyl + trochee +trochee
dactyl + trochee


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