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Pauses in poems.

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I am taking a course on how to be a poem writer, and I have decided to share with you through my publications, the knowledge I am acquiring. This way we can learn together.

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The rhyme

Metrics in poems.

Counting the metrical syllables of a verse.

The accent in poems.

The pause is a metrical concept that refers to a small inflection in the reading of a poem. Metrical pause is the name given in poetry to the pause that delimits a verse. Every line of verse is necessarily delimited by a metrical pause, which is the rest at the end of the line, but also between hemistiches in the case of compound lines; in the case of the pause at the end of the line, it is also called a versal pause. The pause allows synalephas between vowels in contact. One of the distinguishing characteristics of poetry as opposed to prose is the different segmentation of one type of writing and the other, since poetry emphasizes rhythm, and it is the rhythmic needs of poetry that explain the function of the pause in the division of the phonic chain.

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I believe that the pause is an important part of the verse, since like music, the poem requires silences or pauses to achieve a segmentation with rhythm and musicality. Each verse constitutes in itself a unit that must end in a breathy rest, regardless of the syntax in the poem. Sometimes the two types of pause, syntactic and versal, can coincide and sometimes not. But the versal pause must always be respected. Even the pauses that occur at the end of each line can be: the versal pause is the one that occurs at the end of each line. We also find the strophic pause, which is made at the end of each stanza. In addition, we find the medial pause, which divides the stanzas into smaller, symmetrical parts, that is, it divides them into smaller parts or verses. As in the case of compound verses, such as alexandrines.

 In this sense, the caesura is the versal pause that occurs within a compound verse of more than 11 syllables. It divides the verse into two parts called hemistiches. A characteristic of the caesura is that it prevents synalephasia. The first hemistich will have one more syllable if it is acute or one less if it is sdrújulo. A pause is, in the broadest sense of the term, an interruption. According to the context, the notion can acquire different specific meanings. The oral expression of a poem, that is, its recitation, is very important, since it is the one that manifests the rhythm that distinguishes the poem from prose, and within that expression the pauses determine those phonic stops on which the syllabic accentual rhythm is structured.

Caupolicán: alexandrine verses from "Rubén Darío", which has been included in his book Azul... (1888).

It is something formidable that the old race saw:

sturdy tree trunk at the shoulder of a champion

and hardened champion, whose strong mace wielded

wielded the arm of Hercules, or the arm of Samson.

His hair for a helmet, his chest for a breastplate,

could such a warrior, of Arauco in the region,

spearman of the forests, Nemrod who hunts everything,

To unharness a bull, or strangle a lion.

He walked, walked, walked. He saw the light of day,

saw him the pale evening, saw him the cold night,

and always the tree trunk on the titan's back.

"The Toqui, the Toqui!" cries the moved caste.

He walked, walked, walked. The Aurora said: "Enough",

and the high forehead of the great Caupolicán rose.


A poem is not cut into lines just because, but because those lines have a syntactic and phonetic coherence, or only phonetic if there is a lexical enjambment between contiguous lines. Therefore, it is usual that at the end of the line there is a final "versal pause" that distinguishes it from the other contiguous lines. This is the most important pause, but there are also other pauses necessary to maintain the rhythm of the verse. The pause is a fundamental element in a poem. It does not have the same purpose in this genre as in prose. In poetry, the pause responds to a structure and must be restricted to the segmentation of the rhythm. Although this establishes a relationship with the syntax, it is much more structural, that is to say, many times, although the syntax differs, neither the segmentation nor the pauses do.

 In conclusion, it could be said that it is a rest that is located in a certain place of the text, to give a sense or to collaborate with the good performance of the rhythm. It should be noted that all poems, regardless of how aligned they are to a classical metric or how free they are, maintain an important relationship between their phrases and their pauses: it is essential to be able to read correctly. The pause is characterized by taking place outside the rhythmic period, at the end of the line or hemistich, it does not admit the synalephas. It is capable of leveling the line or hemistich to the measure of the plain syllables, that is to say, it has metrical consequences, since in it logically at the end of the hemistich the accentual rules of the versification are applied.

Do you consider important the pauses in poems?

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