5-cacophonycaesuracatharsis-4-728A caesura is a pause within a line of poetry, which gives the poet an opportunity to vary the meter.

It is denoted by a comma or more effectively by stronger punctuation – the latter frequently identifies a significant moment or point in a poem.

On occasions a poet might use two caesuras in a line, as does Wordsworth in his sonnet ‘Surprised by Joy

–      // –   |  ˇ   –   // ˇ   –  |  ˇ   –    | ˇ  – |

‘Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind’

(Incidentally, I read the first foot as a spondee but others might feel it is more of an iamb, with the second use of the word ‘love’ taking the heavy stress to give it further emphasis.)



See other literary terms



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