Elements of “For Once, Then, Something”
Every poet has a unique way in which they construct a particular poem. Some poets have a tendency to stay within the same style while other’s break out of the mold and write in a style of their own. For Frost, most of his work was composed in an English meter however, when composing “For Once, Then, Something” he strayed away from his usual tendencies of writing. “For Once, Then, Something” (1920) is the only poem Robert Frost ever composed in a classical meter: it is written in phalaecean hendecasyllabics” (Talbot, 2003). Hendecasyllabic is generated from the times of Ancient Greece and the meaning behind the name of the meter is derived by the Greek word eleven. With each line containing 11 syllables, “the hendecasyllabic offers the opportunity to maintain the basic Sapphic rhythm for a long period, building up momentum” (Wikipedia, 2014). There are a number of speculations as to the reason why Frost chose to steer away from his traditional writing scheme but continued with the reflection of nature. One thought of why Frost did not use the classic English meter for this particular poem was to the effects of him imitating the Latin meter of Catullus. “Frost’s poem is, among other things, a response to hostile critics. Scholars of Catullus – and Catullus was Frost’s favorite Roman author – have pointed to a link between hendecasyllabics and the poetic mode of rebuttal to one’s critics” (Talbot, 2003). In my view of reading the poem, it could be read in iambic pentameter. Each line seems to end with an extra syllable which gives the impression of being unaccented however, it seem that iambic pentameter was not the intentions of how Frost wanted this poem to be read. “Writing to a friend in 1920, the year of the poem’s publication, roguish Frost boasted that the poem was “calculated to tease the metrists,” (Talbot, 2003). The meaning Frost wanted to portray was that in which he was certainly capable of writing a poem with...
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