Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter L




is for Lyric




A lyric is a song-like poem meant to express the thoughts and feelings of a person. Shakespeare’s sonnets are a form of lyric poetry.

In the short story “Aliens’ Waltz”, Josef Scheliemann describes his alien sighting using lyric prose:

Slowly move, quick box step, twirling round, open, turn. One-two-three, two-two-three. Shoulders rise. Fall again. Moving on single plain, tall and completely poised. Triangular faces showcase ovular eyes. Smoky and luminous in celestial moonlight. Fabric of dress gowns shine twinkling in the night. One-two-three, two-two-three, weightlessly promenade. Steam buoys from the wheat stalks forming nebulous mist. Feet barely skim farmland in a spiraling glide.

Though admittedly not perfect, the prose in this passage is meant to sound like a waltz. Effort was made to ensure stressed and unstressed symbols and pauses approximate the one-two-three-one-two-three time of a waltz. Ideally, because it is lyric, it should sound as if it were meant to be paired with music, such as (my favourite) “The Blue Danube Waltz”.

What do you think? Does it sound like a waltz when read out loud, or am I asking too much of the reader? Have you ever tried something similar? Was it as mind-numbingly difficult to execute as my sample lyric text?