A dual-meter poem: Leviathan

The idea of a dual-meter poem is that you can divide it into lines in two different ways, both of which rhyme and scan. Here’s an example I wrote, based on Job 41.

First, as a ballad in common meter:

Leviathan from out the sea
With cords canst thou extract?
Or will he speak soft words to thee
Or make with thee a pact?
Canst thou encage him like a pet?
Or like a cow can he
Be killed and cut and cooked and set
On platters and to thee
Served for a fête? In vain think ye,
Ye nothing understand,
Who think to haul the king of sea
To land. Oh, who can stand
Before him? See his teeth! His jaws
Spew smoke and flame! All those
Beneath the sea bow to his laws.
The deep boils bright and glows
When he goes by. Oh, awful sight!
A king he shall abide,
And far and wide shall rule in might
O’er all the sons of pride.

And now, in heroic couplets:

Leviathan from out the sea with cords
Canst thou extract? Or will he speak soft words
To thee or make with thee a pact? Canst thou
Encage him like a pet? Or like a cow
Can he be killed and cut and cooked and set
On platters and to thee served for a fête?
In vain think ye, ye nothing understand,
Who think to haul the king of sea to land.
Oh, who can stand before him? See his teeth!
His jaws spew smoke and flame! All those beneath
The sea bow to his laws. The deep boils bright
And glows when he goes by. Oh, awful sight!
A king he shall abide, and far and wide
Shall rule in might o’er all the sons of pride.

Fourteen lines in iambic pentameter… It occurs to me that, with a slightly different rhyme scheme, I could turn this into a sonnet which doubles as a ballad — a salad, let’s call it. I’ll have to give it a try.

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