Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - Anaphora

I'm still working my way through several different books on writing poetry and poetic forms. I thought it would be interesting to try writing a poem that uses anaphora. Anaphora is "the repetition of the same word or phrase in several successive clauses." Whitman uses anaphora in the poem Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. Here is an excerpt.
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and the fields beyond, where the child
leaving his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as
if they were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and
fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as
if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in
the mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.
You can learn more about anaphora at
I wrote a poem yesterday that inspired this stretch. It's called A Soldier's Kid.

So, that's your challenge for the week. Write a poem that uses anaphora. Leave me a comment about your work and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Here's my anaphoric poem with the extra constraint of the word "up" being used as five different parts of speech:


    Ups 'n downs
    Always come up
    When climbing
    Up a mountain.

    Up the ante
    And you'll find
    An up day makes
    Your frown end.


    Alone I stood - bitter and cold,
    Alone on the sidelines-growing old,
    With you, my life was changed.
    With you my life was rearranged.

    You looked at me, with a dazzling smile.
    I looked at you, at the end of the aisle.
    So many hopes, so many dreams
    in my heart that fateful day.
    Symbolized by a simple bouquet.

    We’d planned to walk together,
    in this journey called life -
    you as my husband
    me as your wife.

    But as we watched love bloom and grow
    we were to young
    we didn’t know
    happiness comes with a cost
    Time was precious, love was lost.

    Alone again – bitter and cold
    Alone this time – ‘til I grow old

  3. Kim's Alone Again very sad capturing the story of so many. My 'homework' this week is called At this Moment.. and can be found at my blog. Thanks for this assignment, I enjoyed it.