One of the important features of a poem is its rhythm, which is the pattern the sounds make when we read them out loud.
Try reading this nursery rhyme out loud.
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.
As you read aloud, you will have put more emphasis, or stress, on some words (and syllables) than others. If the poem is rewritten with the stressed syllables in bold capitals, it looks like this:
MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB,
It's FLEECE was WHITE as SNOW.
And EVeryWHERE that MARy WENT,
The LAMB was SURE to GO.
A stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable each time. If you try reading the poem the other way round (so you put emphasis on the words that are not in bold capitals) it sounds very strange!
In this worksheet, you can practise reading different poems out loud and identifying their patterns of rhythm.