Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer Rerun #1 – Caesura (cæsura or cesura)

I was considering taking a brief summer hiatus from the blog this year and mentioned that to my friend and fellow poet/blogger Diane Lockward. Diane suggested that I do some summer reruns instead (similar to summer reruns on TV). A great idea, Diane, for which my thanks!

I decided to go back and revisit some of the July and August posts from 2010, the year I started The Music in It. I haven’t looked at most of these prompts in about five years and suspect that most readers haven’t either. So … for long-time blog readers, here’s a revisit; and for new readers, here’s something you may not have seen.


Originally Posted Sunday, July 11, 2010

Think how a bird pauses between songs, how we pause between thoughts, how there are pauses in our lives. 

In poetry, caesura refers to a pause that occurs naturally in the rhythms of speech when a line is spoken. The pause or break usually occurs near the middle of a line (sometimes used along with enjambment.). Used to create a specific effect, caesura may be soft (barely noticeable) or hard (as in a full stop, such as a period or other terminal punctuation). A caesura is called "masculine" when it falls after a long syllable, and "feminine" when it falls after a short syllable.

There is a caesura right after the question mark in the first line of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's  sonnet that begins, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." There is also caesura in Emily Dickinson’s line, “I'm nobody! Who are you?” Caesura may be indicated by //. Consider Robert Frost’s line: “Two roads diverged // in a yellow wood” (“The Road Not Taken”).


  1. Reruns! What a great idea!

  2. Really a great idea -- especially for those newer to the blog but also for those who may have written from the prompt before and take a new look at it (either with revision or a whole new poem).