A Word on Wednesday: Caesura

Caesura is the main pause of a poem. The word originates from 16th Century Latin, literally translating to a cutting, from caedere to cut.  

The stop or pause in a metrical line, is often marked by punctuation or by a grammatical boundary, such as a phrase or clause. A medial caesura splits the line in equal parts. 

When the pause occurs toward the beginning or end of the line, it is termed, respectively, initial or terminal.  Outside of poetry, caesura can be any interruption or a break, especially in a sense of pause.  

If life, one can caesura in most instances to one’s benefit. The meter is to go on, to continue. It is a pause, not an end. 



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