A trochaic foot (trochee) has a long syllable followed by a short syllable (LS or /U).
Trimeter is three feet per line.
Very few poems are pure trochaic trimeter. However, trochaic trimeter is often used along with lines with different meters. For instance, in the following verses, phrases such as “Hail to thee, blithe spirit”, “Higher still and higher” and “From the earth thou springest” are pure trochaic trimeter. There are other trochees in the poem, but these are not pure trochaic trimeter, so we haven’t highlighted them.
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, from To a Skylark
A closer look at the feet in this poem
U = short syllable; / = long syllable; | = division between feet
For other examples of pure trochaic trimeter, look to the advertising industry, and such taglines or slogans as:
- “Taking care of business” (Office Depot)
- “Always CocaCola” (Coca-Cola)
- “Gather ’round the good stuff” (Pizza Hut)
- “Better sound through research” (Bose)