Meter in Wild Swans
Meter Examples in Wild Swans:
Wild Swans 1
"I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over...." See in text (Wild Swans)
Millay uses a dactylic tetrameter in the opening two lines, before transitioning into a more classic pentameter. The use of dactyls—a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables—creates a breathless quality which conveys the rapture of seeing wild swans soaring overhead. This initial sight spurs the narrator into deeper reflection and questioning.