The Bean Eaters
The Bean Eaters
by Gwendolyn Brooks

The Bean Eaters: Rhyme, Form & Meter

We’ll show you the poem’s blueprints, and we’ll listen for the music behind the words.


You could think of this poem as an invitation to the dinner of this couple. And dinner is a casual affair, remember? Maybe that's why this poem doesn't have any organized meter.

That's not to say that "The Bean Eaters" doesn't have any rhymes – it does. In fact, it's got enough of a rhyme scheme to make it seem as though it's formalized. (In case you're wondering, it's actually AABA BCDC EFDF.) Funnily enough, there is a form in which the second and fourth lines of a poem rhyme – it's called the "common meter." Common. Sort of like casual. Get it?

Unlike common meter, however, this poem doesn't have a regular metrical pattern. It's not nearly as regular or formal as even common meter tends to be. That's probably because it describes people who aren't too concerned with preserving a formality in their lives. It's enough for them to get food on the table – why worry about speaking (or writing) in iambic tetrameter?

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