The opposite of wise words do not necessarily have to be unwise or foolish words. Many times, they are simply other wise words! Do not believe me? Well, here is an example of one such pair of opposites:
- Opposites attract. / Birds of a feather flock together.
And here is another:
- Too many cooks spoil the broth. / Many hands make light work.
Or what about these?
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder. / Out of sight, out of mind.
- Look before you leap. / He who hesitates is lost.
As you can see, these proverbs seem to say the opposite. The beauty or the cool weirdness here is that we accept each one and quote it when the situation arises! Another thing that arises out of this is to maybe take everything we hear with a grain of salt. That raises a question: is there a saying that means the opposite of “grain of salt”?! Let me know.
This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support. Please see the full disclosure for more information. I only recommend products I definitely would (or have already) use myself
Poetic Sundays: Parallelismus Membrorum
Today I selected Parallelismus Membrorum for Poetic Sundays. Specifically, I will be looking at antithetic parallelism in keeping with the theme of opposites that I touched on earlier. Why, you wonder? Apparently, it is National Opposite Day on the 25th of January, so, why not? Read on, and you will understand more about this device and my reasons for picking it.
What is Parallelismus Membrorum?
Parallelismus Membrorum is a poetic and literary device of traditional Hebrew origin, and often used in Biblical poetry. Robert Lowth coined this term in his 1788 book, Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrew Nation, and it simply means “parallelism of members” (members referring to the lines of the poem). It is used in Biblical p
Parallelism gives usually two (sometimes more) clauses or line a similar form, thus giving the whole a pattern. It can be thought of as a “rhyming” of ideas and grammatical structure, rather than rhyming of words (though you can chose to have the words rhyme too, if you wish!)
There are a few different types of parallelism. Here is a quick overview of some of them:
- Synonymous parallelism: the repetition of one idea in successive lines using different words.
- Antithetic parallelism: the second part of the verse contrasts with the idea of the first
- Synthetic Parallelism: the second part of the verse advances, builds upon an idea from the first part
Check the links in the Further Reading list below for more on the device and its various types.
How to Write Using Parallelism
- couplets to showcase the idea with
- short lines containing three to four words each
- where lines follow similar or parallel grammatical constructs as much as possible
- and the lines present contrasting and/or complementary concepts
The use of clauses or lines with similar grammatical structure automatically creates a regular rhythm and a specific meter (that the poet has picked for that first clause/verse/line).
“Antithesis” is derived from the Greek term antitheton meaning “opposition.” Since our focus is on antithetic parallelism, we will be writing a poem with contrasting concepts placed side by side. In effect, antithetic parallelism is achieved by intentionally juxta positioning two contrasting concepts.
Examples of opposites from literature, poetry, and elsewhere:
- “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness . . .” A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens
- “To be, or not to be.”
- “Some say the world will end in fire,/Some say in ice.” – Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Read William Blake’s “A Poison Tree”
- “This is one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
- I also loved this example from another poetic blog here.
Additional Notes/Tips for Antithetic Parallelism Memborum (or parallelism of opposites!)
- Use other poetic devices to the best effect you can. For example, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, merism (parallelism with extremes, like heaven and earth), simile and personification
- While employing parallelism in grammatical structure, remember to keep grammar in mind!
- Once you have an idea for your poem, make a list of related words along with their opposites (antonyms) to help you along
- Hint: You can even use those proverbial opposites to get you started!
My Opposite Examples (well, first attempts!)
She was the sweetness
that “bittered” the brew.
He the gentle rain
that drowned the two.
She was an angel
and a vicious shrew.
He was a devil
disguised in saintly hues.
When apart, best of pals
but together, worst foes.
~Vidya Tiru @LadyInReadWrites
She was the bitterness
that sweetened the brew.
He the hurricane
that gently blew.
She the sweet beauty
who portrayed a shrew.
He the saint
in a beast’s suit.
When together, bliss
and apart was misery.
~Vidya Tiru @LadyInReadWrites
References, Further Reading, and h/t:
On My Blog & at Home
My recent posts since and including my last Sunday Scribblings:
- Sunday Scribblings #92: Double or Nothing Can Be Truly Delightful
- The Magic of a Full Moon and Clouds!
- 10+ Books For Those Who Love Winnie-the-Pooh
- Word of the Day to Keep Weariness Away
- Travel With the Atlas of Forgotten Places
- Star Wars and the Seven Stars: Out of the World Connections
- A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year
At home, there has been nothing new. Life goes on, and that is good!
On My Blog and Homefront
Posts, life, et al.
This Week’s Celebrations
Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)
- Literary birthdays this week include: Edith Wharton on the 24th; Robert Burns, Stephen Chbosky, Virginia Woolf, and W. Somerset Maugham on Jan 25th; Shannon Hale and Susan Griffin on the 26th of Jan; Lewis Carroll of Jan 27th; Susan Choi on Jan 28th; Anton Chekhov on the 29th of January; Robert McKee on Jan 30
- January 24th happens to be the International Day of Education
- The 25th celebrates Burns Supper (UK)
- Library Shelfie Day – Fourth Wednesday in January
- National Peanut Butter Day kicks off the week on Jan 24
- The 25th is National Irish Coffee Day
- January 26th is National Green Juice Day and National Peanut Brittle Day
- A delish day on the 27th! It happens to be National Chocolate Cake Day
- January 28th is National Blueberry Pancake Day
- National Corn Chip Day is on the 29th of January
- The 30th of January is National Croissant Day
- January 24th is National Compliment Day as well as Global Belly Laugh Day
- National Opposite Day is on the 25th
- The 26th is National Spouses Day
- India celebrates its Republic Day on the 26th of January
- January 29th is National Puzzle Day
Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings
So dear reader, you have reached the end of this Sunday Scribblings! As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this post. And do let me know if you plan to celebrate any of these mentioned celebrations this coming week/month?