Following on from my post last week, I’ve been thinking about rhythms. I was swimming at the gym on Monday, and although I’m not a good swimmer, once I get into the rhythm, I find it very peaceful. As I was swimming, I began reflecting on the various rhythms of life, and when I got home I looked up the meaning of rhythm in the dictionary. It said ‘measured flow, especially of words or music’. The thesaurus gave me the alternatives: pattern, pulse, beat, cadence, metre, time, flow and movement, amongst others.
There are natural rhythms all around us. Night follows day, spring follows winter, flowers become fruit, leaves fade and fall. Life can be easier if we fall in with these patterns rather than trying to fight them. Even the planets in our solar system move to a pattern. And the rhythmic beat of my heart tells me I’m alive, if that stopped I’d be seriously worried!
Music can have a rhythm that speaks into the soul. It can make us feel joyful, or jubilant, as if ‘all’s right with the world’, or can make us feel achingly sad and bereft; occasionally it can shake us to our very core.
I believe there should also be a measured flow to the written word. I think a poem must have a rhythm, or to me it is not a poem. But I consider that other types of writing should also have a rhythm. The way words, sounds and punctuation are used and hang together, and even how they appear on the page, can add or detract from the picture the writer is trying to create. If the rhythm is awry, the words can jar, but maybe that could actually be what the writer intended.
I chose these words with care, and hope this piece of writing has a rhythm of its own. A rhythm that flows smoothly from beginning to end. And I hope too that it has given you something to think about.