I love playing with meter. I think it is fascinating that different languages seem to lend themselves to certain meters. For example, in English, the most common meter used in poetry is iambic pentameter - each line containing five metrical feet.
The badger grunting on his woodland track
With shaggy hide and sharp nose scrowed with black
(John Clare, The Badger)
In other languages, meter can be quite different. The modern French language does not have a significant stress accent (like English) or long and short syllables (like Latin). This means that the French metric line is generally not determined by the number of beats, but by the number of syllables. In the Renaissance, there was a brief attempt to develop a French poetics based on long and short syllables. The most common metric lengths are the ten-syllable line ("décasyllabe"), the eight-syllable line ("octosyllabe") and the twelve-syllable line (the so-called "alexandrin").
Our weekly challenge is to write a staza of poetry in octameter--lines of eight metrical feet. Though this meter is more common in the French language, there have been a few superb examples of octameter in English:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
(Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven")
(Note especially the second line.) Doesn't that sound great? Let's try it!