the music

I found this “micropoem”,  from the cassandra pages, so compelling that I spent some time analyzing its little magic. I first tried to use my toolbar to graphically denote the many instances of consonance, assonance, rhyme, sibilence and  alliteration, but found so much abundance and overlap that all of my italic, font size, underline, and color choices were inadequate. It’s hard to believe how much connectivity there is in such a tiny verse, and I’m advised by the author that little of it was deliberate. It just happens. Here’s the poem, followed by my very amateur take on its phonology:


Little lettuce fists
unfolding on the maples
hold spring in their palms


1. First letter first. The two “L” sounds in Little repeat immediately in lettuce,(alliteration) and four more times in the next two lines: unfolding, maples, hold and palm. (consonance)
2. Second letter….the short i in little. Repeats in fists, unfolding, spring, and in. (assonance)
3. t sound from little hits twice more in quick succession. lettuce, fists. (consonance)
4. s sound echoes: lettuce, fists, spring. (sibilence)
5. f sound echo: fists, unfolding (my call: alliteration)
6. p sound echoes: maples, spring, palms. (consonance)
7. rhyming pairs of consecutive syllables: fold-ing/ hold spring
8. hard th sound echo: the, their. (consonance?)
9. m sound echo: maples, palms. (consonance)
10. ah sound echo: on, palms (assonance)

Painting with music.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks so much for this, Mike. It’s completely fascinating to me, because I never do these analyses! Actually had no idea what was going on – it’s just one that works for my ear.


  2. Thank you both for this.

    I often try similar things in my haiku . . . sometimes consciously, sometimes not.
    In any case, I love the poem.


  3. The mark of a great poet!!


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