Mammoth Memory

Iambic octameter

An iambic foot (iamb) has a short syllable followed by a long syllable (SL or U/).

Octameter is eight feet per line.



Octameter is eight feet per line

Upon a nest a bird I saw that had a bracelet in its beak

And, though you won’t believe a word, I heard the bird begin to speak.

It said: “I am the bird of jewels – I steal some new ones ev’ry day.”

Since then my jewels are hid from sight – you’ll never find them on display.

Anonymous – Jeweller’s Lament


A closer look at the feet in this poem


U = short syllable; / = long syllable; | = division between feet



Although “jewels” is two syllables, you can get away with pronouncing it almost as if it’s a single syllable. This could be called cheating – but it works!

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