Iambic Pentameter
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THE RHYTHM AND REASON OF REALITY

  Those of you who have discovered the unearthly masterpiece, A
  Course in Miracles, will no doubt be aware of, and grateful
  for, its divine message of the remembrance of God and reality
  through love and forgiveness, that are only made possible in
  the realization that this world is a dream of your own making.
  You may remember reading, amongst the literature concerning the
  scribing of the Course, references to the use of a poetic form
  called iambic pentameter.


  The purpose of this volume is to present the poetry of the
  Course in a totally accessible manner.  You need know nothing
  about poetic forms and meters to begin enjoying immediately.
  You may, however, wish to read this introduction, as a search
  to ascertain the extent of the poetic form within the Course
  reveals another astounding dimension in its structural
  integrity.


  Iambic pentameter is usually described as "lines consisting of
  five iambs", which in turn are described as "metric feet of two
  syllables each, the second syllable being the stronger".  Put
  simply, a line of iambic pentameter sounds like this:


  Da-DUM  Da-DUM  Da-DUM  Da-DUM  Da-DUM


  This form is also called "blank verse", a more general term
  denoting even rhythm without rhyming.  Because the Course is
  presented entirely as prose the extent to which this form is
  used is a surprising and exciting discovery.


  The Text of A Course In Miracles can be seen as three distinct
  parts, two of twelve chapters each, and the last of seven
  chapters, each differentiated from the other by the use of
  meter.  Within this structure, a gradual transition is made
  from prose to blank verse.


  The first twelve chapters of the Course are written in a
  rhythmic prose, and the portrait of the human condition given
  is prosaic indeed. The very last sentence of Chapter 12 is the
  first glimpse of what, metrically speaking, is to come: "Your
  Father could not cease to love His Son. (a line of iambic
  pentameter)


  The second part begins with the first seven sections of Chapter
  13 becoming increasingly iambic, until in section seven, "The
  Attainment of the Real World", each paragraph contains on
  average only three of four arrhythmic lines, non-iambic lines.
  This is the metric characteristic of the second twelve chapters.
  Occasionally, paragraphs begin with emphatic statements of
  light reality, given in iambic pentameter: "There is a light
  that this world cannot give;" is the first such occurrence. "You
  do not really want the world you see;" "We cannot sing
  redemption's hymn alone;"  "Your faith in nothing is deceiving
  you."  These glorious statements are each elucidated
  conceptually in the paragraphs that follow from them, but each
  also offers an opportunity to enter into real communication....
  You are being prepared for a new mode of data
  transmission.


  Deeper into the second part, increasingly strong "insertions"
  of iambic pentameter occur; longer passages that persist
  further into the paragraphs.  For instance, in Chapter 21:


      Thus they define their life and where they live,
      adjusting to it as they think they must,
      afraid to lose the little that they have.
      And so it is with all who see the body
      as all they have and all their brothers have.
      and fail again.


  Coincident with the approach of total iambic pentameter, (the
  last seven chapters), Jesus makes this statement (in Chapter
  22): "This is a crucial period in this course, for here the
  separation of you and the ego must be made complete."
  And this:


      This course will be believed entirely
      or not at all.
      For it is wholly true or wholly false,
      and cannot be but partially believed.


  Chapter 25 is the beginning of the final part.  In Chapters 25
  and 26 the final transition is made into perfect iambic
  pentameter, making feasible the presentation as poetry in the
  two same manner as the works of Shakespeare are presented,
  with columns of the short blank verse lines to a page.  It is at
  this final part that this volume of transformative rhythm and
  poetry takes up the Text.  Encoded into the ongoing
  presentation of conceptual ideas is the true communication the
  Course aims to teach.  Each line is a perfectly whole package
  of information.


  Some parts of these two chapters are still not regular enough
  to allow breakdown into lines of iambic pentameter and so are
  presented (in Russell's book) as prose.  Also, the regular
  iambic pentameter in these two chapters and early in Chapter
  27, often contains idiosyncrasies, such as lines that contain
  one extra syllable, or short lines of only four or six
  syllables.  These discrepancies are used to emphasize ideas in
  the same manner that the iambic pentameter was used  in the
  middle chapters of the text, only rather than lifting you into
  communication, they drop you out momentarily, the aim being
  to teach you to recognize the difference.


  In the last five chapters of the text the iambic pentameter is
  perfect. Jesus never abbreviates words to achieve this, but it
  does account for what seemed to be occasionally unusual syntax
  - but which now makes perfect sense, read as poetry.


  A transition from prose to poetry also occurs in the Workbook,
  but it is much simpler, and quicker.  The first ninety lessons
  are plain prose, with the exception of Lesson 78, which is
  totally poetic (iambic pentameter).  The transition occurs
  entirely with ten lessons.  Lesson 91 is prose.  The following
  lessons have increasing percentages of verse, but the
  distinction is kept very clear.  Any paragraph will either be
  entirely prose, or entirely poetry. It is astonishing to
  discover that everything in the Workbook from lesson 100 on is
  in iambic pentameter ~ the introductions to Reviews,  the
  "instructions on themes of special relevance," such as 'What is
  Forgiveness', the prayers and the Epilogue.


  Attempts to read the poetic form directly from the original
  prose layout often result in diminished comprehension.
  Conversely, the presentation as blank verse guarantees placing
  correct emphasis for understanding, (though not understanding
  itself), and the elegance and eloquence of Jesus' poetry and
  the regular rhythmic lope offer an expanded experience of the
  Course to the musical mind.


  The magnitude and beauty of the Course, simply as a work of
  literature and without regard to its miraculous content,
  adequately belie any notion of its human authorship.  The
  divinity of the ideas expressed is beyond question.  Certainly
  the poetic and prosaic forms contained in A Course in Miracles
  are there because that was necessary for the healing of God's
  Son, since this is the Holy Spirit's only purpose.

 

Note: This is a draft intro to a book Michael Russell is putting together on
the iambic pentameter aspects of the Course.

From: maz To: The_Peace_of_God@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 4:39 AM

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