Antiphon

Antiphon, Latin, antiphona derived from Greek antiphonon, sounding against, responsive sound, singing opposite, alternate chant; is a response from a congregation or chorus sung or recited before and after a Psalm verse read or sung by a cantor. The phrase which serves as the antiphon text contains not only the fundamental message of the psalm to which it is sung, but also brings attention to the point of view from which it is to be understood. It is central to the liturgical and mystical meaning of the psalm with regard to the occasion or feast day on which it is sung. As a poetic genre it is a poem with a responsive refrain.

The Antiphon is:
• stanzaic, alternating short-long-short stanzas. The response-refrain is in short stanzas, no longer than a couplet. The alternating verse stanza may be structured at the discretion of the poet, most often in quatrains.
• originally to be sung, therefore although no specific meter is designated, it should carry a lyrical rhythm.
• rhymed or unrhymed at the discretion of the poet.
• composed with the responsive refrain containing the central theme from a particular point of view.

Antiphon by George Herbert 1633

Cho. Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
—————– My God and King.

Vers. The heav’ns are not too high,
—— His praise may thither flie:
—— The earth is not too low,
—— His praises there may grow.

Cho. Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
—————– My God and King.

Vers. The church with psalms must shout,
—— No doore can keep them out:
—– But above all, the heart
—— Must bear the longest part.

Cho. Let all the world in ev’ry corner sing,
—————— My God and King.

How great is He? by Judi Van Gorder

Pure are the colors of tulips in bloom,
true yellows and reds, set against green,
all shades and grades, brilliant at noon.

How great is He, sire of all that’s seen?

The sun dries the rain soaked earth
while warblers fuss and preen
and His garden sprouts new birth.

How great is He, sire of all that’s seen?

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1119
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Confused

Who Named This Form (Antiphon)

Every day I find a form
that ancient poets wrote.
In trying hard to conform
It seems I often fail, you’ll note.

If it seems like Greek to you, alas it well may be.

“Who named these forms”, someone asked,
Teachers or some Polish nerd?
Don’t take all those folks to task.
It might be Latin that you heard.

If it seems like Greek to you, alas it well may be.

© Lawrencealot – November 10, 2014

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