After much deliberation, I have decided to move WWW (Withenay’s Wednesday Word) to my writing blog, as the link between words and writing is so vital. I hope that over the coming weeks you’ll enjoy my dip into the dictionary. The topics are always varied and rarely predictable!
in verse, the continuation of the sense without a pause beyond the end of the line
from Fr enjamber to stride, encroach
I was looking through the dictionary to see if there was something about England that would be apt close to St George’s Day (23 April) when I came upon this word. It won the battle for today’s entry as it (a) was a word I’d never heard of before and (b) has a further link to the art of writing, albeit for poetry, at which I am never going to be an expert.
In fairness, I thought enjambment was commonplace in poetry: to follow the sentence and meaning over a couple of lines or more, not necessarily stopping at a natural punctuation point. Then I looked up some poetry and found such an event hard to locate. So I suspect my interpretation of the commonality of enjambment is due to more modern poetry, particularly read during my Writers’ Group meetings. (Or it is a reflection of my own pathetic attempts at verse when I run things over many lines just to get all my words in. Verbiage is not a poet’s strength.)
The Wikipedia entry gives some examples, but as I prefer to find my own I turned to my father’s poetry. Here are a couple of verses from a poem he wrote about the moment when my grandfather was informed of his mother’s death: Mother (An Edwardian Funeral).
“What is the matter with you, young lad?
Why are you crying? Why so sad?”
Asked the man in the railway train
Of the lonely boy on the engine side
In his Sunday suit, who sobbed and cried.
“What’s the matter?” he asked again.
The boy looked up at the man, and saw
A compassion he’d seldom known before,
And a face so interested
And concerned, that he braced himself to speak,
Though his voice was faltering and weak:
“It’s my Mother, sir. She’s dead.”
(c) J M Sharman
I’ve underlined the phrases that I interpret as enjambment, where the sentence (and thus meaning and interpretation) flow over more than one line. (Perhaps I should add that my father can and does write a lot more cheery poetry!)
So, are you aware of any other verse that demonstrates enjambment?