4

One of my favorite things about Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is the combination of rhyme and rhythm or meter in its poems. I think I've found satisfying rhythms for reading all of them except the second-to-last one. This one always sounds off to me when I read it:

Look what we found
in the park
in the dark.
We will take him home.
We will call him Clark.

He will live at our house.
He will grow and grow.
Will our Mother like this?
We don't know.

I've tried reading it with emphasis only on the one most stressed word per line, but that ends up feeling very irregular. I've tried something similar to 4-4 time with the emphasis on the back-beat (dactylic tetrameter?), and many pauses. But whatever rhythm I try, I end up tripping over one line or another. The 2nd, 3rd, and last lines are the most different and I imagine require pauses.

I know that many children's books are written to rhyme but not with the meter in mind. But every other poem in this particular book seems to me to fit rhythms well, so I'm guessing this was not supposed to be an exception. Some of the other poems seem to change their rhythm partway through. This one does have a visual break, but the stressed syllables on the lines before and after look similar to me.

Here are the syllables I hear as most stressed, and possibly also stressed, in the words of the poem:

Look what we found
in the park
in the dark.
We will take him home.
We will call him Clark.

He will live at our house.
He will grow and grow.
Will our Mother like this?
We don't know.

Anyone have a way to read this, that works from start to end?

6

The rhythm of this poem is accentual dimeter: that is, it has two stresses per line, and an irregular complement of unstressed syllables. I read it like this, treating the second and third lines as if they are a single line that has been split:

Look what we found
in the park in the dark.
We will take him home.
We will call him Clark.

He will live at our house.
He will grow and grow.
Will our Mother like this?
We don't know.

Accentual dimeter is quite common in nursery rhymes and children’s songs, for example

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?

or

Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clemens

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