The Stephens

The Stephens is a stanzaic form that uses alternating rising and falling end syllables and is patterned after The Watcher and named for the English poet verse James Stephens (1882-1950).

The Stephens is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of sixains. (original poem has 5 sixains)
○ accentual, dimeter.
○ rhymed, ababxb cdcdxd etc. x being unrhymed.
○ composed with feminine endings in the odd numbered lines L1, L3 and L5 and masculine rhyme in the even numbered lines L2, L4, L6.

The Watcher by James Stephens

A rose for a young head,
A ring for a bride,
Joy for the homestead
Clean and wide
Who’s that waiting
In the rain outside?

A heart for an old friend,
A hand for the new:
Love can to earth lend
Heaven’s hue
Who’s that standing
In the silver dew?

A smile for the parting,
A tear as they go,
God’s sweethearting
Ends just so
Who’s that watching
Where the black winds blow ?

He who is waiting
In the rain outside,
He who is standing
Where the dew drops wide,
He who is watching
In the wind must ride
(Tho’ the pale hands cling)

With the rose
And the ring
And the bride,
Must ride
With the red of the rose,
And the gold of the ring,
And the lips and the hair of the bride.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=668
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the wonderful PMO resouce.

I would just call it predominantly amphibrachic with alternating catalectic lines and not bother with trying to identify and duplicate every variation.  Stephens clearly wasn’t concerned with metrical regularity.  The only reason it works is that there are two distinctly stressed beats in each line that are separated by strategically placed unstressed syllables, but very few poets understand the principles of stress or have the innate sense of rhythm that lets them pull off something like this. –

Knot To Be Undone

My thanks to Mary Borne for the analysis above.

My example poem

Nighttime Revival (The Stephens)

A time for the lovers
the magic of night
no need for covers
not tonight.
Doubts, though minor
give way to delight.

Just touching for pleasure,
a kiss on the lips,
tender stroking
fingertips.
Mundane cares are
so surely eclipsed.

With morning’s arrival
we’ll wake and ascend;
another revival
My darling, my friend.
Hopes still remaining
that this never ends.

© Lawrencealot – July 19, 2014

 

 

An incidental visual template:

The Stephens

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