I'm struggling to find the meter in which the poem "Snow" is written. I know that Shakespeare's poetry was written in iambic pentameter.

So far, I've read that the poem "Snow" has a rough meter, and since that wasn't enough, I tried finding it myself, but I'm really struggling.

  • 1
    It's not free verse?
    – user14111
    Oct 10, 2019 at 8:32
  • The dictionary defines free verse as "poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular rhythm." If we take that definition, this is clearly not free verse, since it rhymes. It also has more of a rhythm than most modern free verse.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 11, 2019 at 11:44
  • On the other hand, Amy Lowell's poem Patterns is often classified as free verse. And if Patterns is free verse, then Snow also is.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 11, 2019 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


Even free verse can include an occasional rhyme. The key is its metrical irregularity and avoidance of being defined as a fixed form.

So what makes this poem interesting is that is appears to have regularity, because of the repeated 4-line verse paragraphs, which look like a regular stanzaic form. But the unpredictable meter contradicts this appearance, giving us two opposites at the same time: regularity and irregularity.

The poem's form is mirroring its content: the world is "collateral and incompatible" and "Incorrigibly plural." It doesn't fit a single category: winter and summer, "spiteful and gay," all at the same time. Opposites, just like the poetic form.

I don't know MacNiece's work, but this is a lovely and intriguing piece, and this is how I make sense of it.

  • Do you mean free verse and not blank verse? Blank verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter, which this is certainly not.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 19, 2019 at 0:05
  • Thank you, @Peter Shor. Correction made.
    – Philly
    Oct 19, 2019 at 1:15

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