Meter in Feast

Meter Examples in Feast:

Feast 2

"Feed the grape and bean..."   (Feast)

Millay alters the meter in the final stanza, shifting to a catalectic trimeter. A catalectic line is one in which the first and last syllables are stressed. This gives the lines a more authoritative tone. The tonal shift makes sense in the context of the poem: the narrator has arrived at a position of acceptance, owning the “thirst and hunger.”

"I came upon no wine..."   (Feast)

Millay wrote “Feast” in iambic trimeter: three beats per line, with a fluctuating rhythm between unstressed and stressed syllables. The trimeter line is so much shorter than the classic pentameter line that it leaves the reader with a feeling of breathlessness. One arrives at the end of the line wanting and expecting more. That feeling of unsatisfied desire is the very theme of the poem.