Rhythmic and Metric


BEFORE YOU READ | The poem you are to read is a stress-matrix sonnet, a fixed verse form of poetry created by Luke Prater in 2011. It has fourteen syllables over fourteen lines. Poet Jim Khan has altered the form slightly to make this almost like a Terza Rima with an interlocking rhyme carrying through to the end. Thus, the rhyme scheme now is abab cbc dcd eded.

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

The miners’ spines have slipped their discs, made crooked by the sack
Containing all those minerals and dignity in chunks,
In lightless labyrinth lunacy their fingernails turn black,
Their faces smeared in shadow like the cassocks worn by monks,

Canary tweets and cutthroat cheers in overtures of fear,
The blessing of Saint Barbara, the company of drunks,
The beaded sweat on beaten brows as recompense draws near.

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For all the years of toiling pain reluctantly embraced
As life succumbed to sufferance and drowned itself in beer-
The coalman’s tongue, annulled of nerves has lost its sense of taste,

A chipped refrain of icy breath discloses diamond tracts,
The miners satisfaction of the betterment they chased
And from those adamantine faces lamplight glow refracts
But can these diamonds substitute for decades gone to waste?

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PS: Jim Khan is a renowned poet from England. You can purchase his latest book of poetry by clicking here. The proceeds from the sales of the book will directly go to a UK Housing Charity.

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