Rhythmic Metrics

Rhythmic Metrics

OK, back to learning from Ray about the literary aspects in ACIM. Ray points out where ACIM perfectly employs not only iamb, but also trochee, spondee, dactyl and anapest in a masterful way to direct the rhythm and reason in our minds to more fully receive the content of ACIM, not just conceptually, but as a technique to reach beyond our conscious information processing.

Here’s a sample of Ray teaching rhythmic metrics.
Iamb , slack STRESS: chris TINE
Trochee, STRESS slack: RAY mond
Spondee, STRESS STRESS: CHRIS TINE (spoken by an irate mother)
Dactyl, STRESS slack slack: JON a than
Anapest, slack slack STRESS: ger trude STEIN

What is coming up next is excerpted from the prologue of Ray’s book “Watch With Me Angels”. Here, Ray provides detailed examples of the literary aspects. This part is essential to understand the poetic dynamics used to match the rhythm of ACIM with the reason of ACIM.

“It is utterly miraculous that in the iambic verse passages of the Course, EVERY SYLLABLE remained exactly in place after Helen transcribed the words of Jesus in shorthand,

Bill Thetford typed them up in prose, and then Ken Wapnick edited them. Neither of them realized the poetry inherent in the prose.”


” Finally, Dear Reader, I do not want to leave you with the impression that this poetry is all, simply, iambic verse. Jesus, the Master Poet, postures our voice to pronounce the words, so that we will experience His full intent.

Here is the scanning of this line:

Watch with me, angels, watch with me today.

/WATCH with me,/ AN gels,/ WATCH with me/ to DAY/

In respect to poetic meter, /WATCH with me/ is a dactyl,

/An gels/ is a trochee, and, /to DAY/ is an iamb.

As our voices are postured to say this line, the poetic variation is a loving invitation to the angels to watch with us now, today, reminding us that we are the Christ. This rhythm is like the beating of the heart, the rhythm of the universe, taking us out of time and space, attuning our energy to the peace and love of God, knowing that the angels are watching with us, all the time.”

OK. Now, you might be questioning, after all this talk about poetry, what does this have to do with music? Well, as far as I understand, pretty much all song lyrics are actually poetry. The reason why the breath works with the voice in a mellifluous way while singing is because the rhythmic metrics employed in the (poetic) lyrics provide a rhythmic flow for the breath. I guess that a good way to verify this is by looking carefully at the lyrics of any song to see if this is the case. It works for me every time that I try it. And, it’s rather difficult to find a good rhythm to set to a tune a bunch of words that don’t flow in a poetic way.

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