Monday, 18 May 2015

Enjambment: An Endless Flow

From the French word for the phrase "to straddle", the enjambment is a form of poetry which often has no punctuation at the end of each line to indicate a stop.  There is a continuation of the sentence from one line to the next, giving the poem a constant flow.  This helps to reinforce the main idea, without the constant pauses at the end of each line.  Sometimes the poet leads the reader to think one way, then reverses his approach in the next line.  The rhythm is fast paced.

Joyce Kilmer's "Trees" is an example of an emjambment.

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robin's in her hair.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.

William Shakespeare used the form in his plays including Romeo and Juliet.  (  John Keats' Endymion ( follows the enjambment pattern as does William Wordsworth's It is a Beauteous Evening (

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