Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

Feminine Endings….

Today in Poetry for Creative Educators class we scanned metrical verse and discussed poetic terms and of course landed, THUD, as I do on “feminine ending.”  Falling ending, extra-syllable ending, but whenever a line ends with that little extra something rather than a hard stressed beat punch, I still label it “feminine” because that’s the term we’ve been using to describe it in poetic circles and it’s hard to change.  Stewardess, flight attendant, that sort of thing.  But I want to take back feminine ending.  So as my students write Shakespearean sonnets this week, I add a Petrarchan draft to the mix.  Have at it poet commentators.  It’s a draft that had me up at 3 this morning.


     In prosody, a line of verse having an unstressed and usually extrametrical syllable at its end.


I think of Debra Winger carried off

the factory floor, muscle and brawn of desire,

workmates in catty backrooms, their hair

netted, one tsk-tsk’s another, scoffs

at overbaked cookies, the treachery

of a mother painting her son’s toenails pink.

Then think of the Spanish for hand, la mano, link

between macha article and fist, the very

grasp of it, bedrail moan, dramatic heart

monitors, anguish of what promises to end:

beast that burdens bladder, exhale knife

thrust and burn or barter your blood, start

the push! Again and again until the end

that never ends, lingering beginning of life.

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