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What form of poem (ie. sonnet, limerick, haiku, etc.) is Edgar Guest's "A Child of Mine?" I would be looking for the scansion and rhyming pattern if there is one. Any relevant information in form of rhythm, rhyming, or anything else is definitely helpful.

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    Could you clarify what you mean by "type of poem"? Roughly, a limerick is defined by its rhyming pattern, a haiku by its syllable count, a sonnet by its rhyming pattern and scansion. Do you want to know how to describe the scansion (rhythm) of "A Child of Mine", or the rhyming pattern, or something else?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 17:14
  • @Randal'Thor I believe I would be looking for the scansion and rhyming pattern if there is one. I am looking to mimic it/take inspiration from it so any relevant information in form of rhythm, rhyming, or anything else is definitely helpful.
    – Dr Gore
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 18:19
  • The poem "A Child of Mine" is in so-called common metre, which is widely used in hymns such as "Amazing Grace".
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 9:01
  • Sometimes you have to know most of the answer to be able to ask the right question. Robert Sheckley wrote a great story "Ask a Foolish Question" about this catch.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 9:06
  • @user14111 Ooh, thanks for that. I've just read it; maybe I'll even be able to ask a question or two about it here :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 15:01

1 Answer 1

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“A Child of Mine” is written in quatrains, i.e., verses of four lines each. The alternate lines in each quatrain rhyme, so the rhyme scheme is ABAB. The lines are iambic, consisting of units with alternating unstressed and stressed syllables. The odd-numbered (A-rhymed) lines of each quatrain have four such units or feet each, making them iambic tetrameter. The even-numbered (B-rhymed) lines of each quatrain have three feet each, making them iambic trimeter.

Here is the scansion of a representative stanza:

|  x  \  |  x  /  |  x  / |  x     /   |   
| It may | be six | or se | ven years, |    

|  x   /  |  x   /  |  x     /  |   
| Or twen | ty-two  | or three. |

|  x    /  |  x     /  |  x   / |  x    /   | 
| But will | you, till | I call | him back, |
 
|   /     / |  x  /  |  x   /  |   
| Take care | of him | for Me? |

This specific, very popular verse form is called common meter. As the name indicates, it’s a widely prevalent verse form used in many hymns (“Amazing Grace”), ballads (“The Babes in the Wood”), etc. Well-known poems in this meter include:

… and many more.

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