The Rhythm of Thoughts – A Journaling Exercise

Next time you go to your journal, try this exercise:

Instead of writing in your usual conversational or stream of consciousness tone, write each of your thoughts using poetic rhythm.

There are four major types of poetic rhythm:

Iambic  ( x  / ) – stress on the last of two syllables

Trochaic  ( /  x ) – stress on the first of two syllables

Dactylic  ( /  x  x ) – stress on the first of three syllables

Anapest ( x  x  / ) – stress on the last of three syllables

Examples of Poetic Rhythm:

Iambic –  But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

Trochaic – Once upon a midnight dreary/ While I pondered, weak and weary

Dactylic – Hickory, dickory dock

Anapest – ‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house


Applying poetic rhythm to your everyday thoughts might bring about some unexpected surprises.

Examples from my own journal:

Rising late depresses me. The morning’s light is wasted.
Yesterday, a hesitant smile, from one girl to another.
Cleaning, scrubbing, bleach and gossip- overwhelm and humor mix.
Confession: I envy my girlfriend in Ireland. I long for the silence of roadside cairns.
What if there are deep misgivings, when in China I arrive?
October’s flowers are amazing. Look at how they lean and curl
bright and sharp in waning light- defiant as autumn unfurls.

Forcing random thoughts into rhythms, you suddenly have the seeds for poetry.

Happy journaling, everyone 🙂


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