Type: Line, Appendages
Description: An Adonic is a two foot line: Xxx XX or maybe Xxx Xx. It depends on the expert one consults. It is more often found as a tagline on the end of a stanza than as separate stanzas.
Origin: Greek
Schematic:  Xxx XX or Xxx Xx
Line/Poem Length: 5

Pasted from
with thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.

This is Greek and classical, why not begin at the beginning.  An Adonic poem is one without rhyme, with just five syllables per line and a specific meter, or syllable arrangement.  We’re at the beginning so lets talk about that first.

When you say the word trouser you say it in a certain way, TROUSer.  There are two syllables and the first one is pronounced more clearly and for longer than the second syllable.  The first syllable is stressed and the second unstressed.  Put in different terms the word present can be done either way.  I have bought you a PREsent, would see the first syllable stressed and the second left unstressed.  I would like you to preSENT this to the group, puts the stress on the second syllable.  The meter of a poem, even more than the rhyme can carry it and give it a song-like rhythm so it is important to learn the specific ones for each form.

Back to ancient Greece.  This poem has a meter like this: stress-unstress-unstress-stress-stress, but the final one can also be unstressed.  We can express it from now on like this /uu//, where / is a stress and u is unstressed.  For instance the wordmicrowave would fit into the beginning of the line, and coffee to the end.  Microwave-coffee (this is what you’ll have to do if you forgot your coffee whilst writing poems).  Not a great poem yet but play around with the syllables until you’ve got it.  At least there’s no rhyme to confuse issues.  Read about meter and feet here, but really we’ll build on it as we go.  There’s another good website here.  The feet, or collections of meter and stresses represented here are called a Dactyl and Trochee.

Wiki tells me this poem originates from laments for Adonis, so write your own lament for your departed Adonis.  Although mine is about my baby niece who is at the moment over-enthusiastic about everyone’s

Christmas candy.
Chewing sweets today
Your few teeth work hard
you swallow too soon
gasping for your breath
So I try to help
Patting on your back
Until you giggle
and rummage for more.

You can see, this kind of meter restraint doesn’t do a lot for me, but short lines and no rhyme certainly makes for easy writing, and if you end up with a nice short-line poem you can tweak the meter afterwards.

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