Fourteener

Meter: Iambic heptameter
Rhyme Scheme: That of any other sonnet.
Volta, That of selected sonnet form.

A Fourteener is used by some as an alternate term for sonnet.
However, poets have also used the term to mean a sonnet in iambic heptameter:
fourteen lines, each with seven iambs (fourteen syllables).
You can use the rhyme scheme of any sonnet form you choose.
The problem with the fourteener is that you could just as easily break each
line into one line of iambic tetrameter (four iambs), followed by a line of iambic trimeter (three iambs). At that point, you’re actually writing in common meter, or ballad meter.
No longer is the poem slow and introspective: it becomes a jaunty, sing-song little number.
Once we get beyond the Alexandrine ( Iambic hexamter), the lines tend to crumble into smaller sections under their own weight.
Here are some well known songs in ballad meter.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

“There is a house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun,
it’s been the ru[in] of many [a poor] boy, and God I know I’m one.”

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,
I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.”

This shouldn’t dissuade you from trying your hand at the Fourteener form,
but you should work to justify the length of the lines by filling them with imagery and beautiful figurative language.

Example poem:

The Highwayman (Fourteener)

When Mabel saw the highwayman, a dandy to be sure,
(his manicure was evident, his lips were freshly glossed,
his brocade vest was all bedecked with silver’s bright allure),
she wanted to be taken by this man at any cost.

“Please stop this carriage! Don’t resist!”she told her able crew.
His ribbons and his earrings were as fine as were her own.
Her bosom swelled, her breath came faster with the closer view.
She wanted naught today but this highwayman alone.

“My dearest lady, please step down. Your loveliness is such
I’ll leave the lock-box to my crew- and you shall be my guest.
Your slender waist and flowing hair excites as does your chest.
My crew seeks other treasure but it’s you I wish to touch.”

The highway man in all this time has never fired a gun.
The ladies tell their drivers, “You are not to fight or run. ”

© Lawrencealot – May 14, 2013

Note: This Fourteener is penned in the style of a Tennyson-Turner Sonnet

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