Josephine Jacobsen

One day
she fell
in love with its
heft and speed.
Tough. lean

fast as light
slow as a cloud.
It took care
of rain, short

noon, long dark.
It had rough kin;
did not stall.
With it, she said,
I may

if I can,
sleep; since I must,
Some say,
The “Monosyllable,” by Josephine Jacobsen is a poem that features meaningful enjambment. Enjambment is the running of the thought from one couplet, line, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break. Lines 2-4 show the use of enjambment when the speaker describes someone who “fell/ in love with its [antecedent unstated]/ heft and speed.” The line break between the words “its” and “heft” is an especially good example of enjambment because “its” is a possessive form of ownership (3, 4). When one is reading the lines that include “its/ heft and speed”, the reader has to pause and go to the next line to find out what is being owned— in this case, the “heft” (3, 4). The speaker’s thoughts are flowing from one line to another without pause and that forces the reader to read the next line to see what word completes the idea. The effect is that the reader momentarily questions what is being owned and it makes the reader more active in reading the poem.
Another analytic feature is every word in this poem is monosyllabic words , meaning that it consists of one syllable. An example of this is “noon” (10). The effect of the monosyllabic words adds to the rhythm of this poem. Rhythm is the musical quality in poetry. The one word syllables act like a beat, or a metronome, when said out loud. To keep the monosyllabic aspect of this poem, the author has punctuation marks added to ensure the reader keeps the beat. An example is in line 10, where the word “dark” has a period after it. The period disables the reader from saying the second syllable in the word, hence keeping the monosyllabic element consistent throughout the poem.