Term: Caesura

A caesura is a strong pause within a line, and is often found alongside enjambment. If all the pauses in the sense of the poem were to occur at the line breaks, this could become dull; moving the pauses so they occur within the line creates a musical interest. A caesura may be marked like this: ||

John Mole's 'Coming Home' has a first stanza that sets off in a very steady rhythm, with the first four sentences the same length as the line, and the same length as each other. The fifth sentence is only half-a-line long, and the pause following that full stop creates a caesura in the line, which draws attention to the important paradox in the fifth line, that "They lie together now. They sleep apart".

How to use this term

'Walking Wounded', by Vernon Scannell, has its first caesura after the word "blood", which sets an ominous note for what will come in the following lines.

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