Vincent van Mechelen
MASTURBATE OR EXACERBATE
Humans without a mate|
that are badly in need
can either masturbate,
and joyfully proceed,
or, else, exacerbate
their craving for, indeed,
real love making them wait
for later to succeed.
M. Vincent van Mechelen
All lines in this eight-line poem are six syllables long.
The rime scheme is A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B.
Masturbate and exacerbate are two of the riming A
words in this scheme.
Too bad for traditionalists, but this rime ('rhyme') is neither what
they call "masculine" nor what they call "feminine".
The one-syllable ('single') rime in pairs of words such as
mate and wait, and such as proceed and
succeed, is 'masculine' in their eyes, whereas a two-syllable
('double') rime in pairs of words such as craving and
behaving, and such as later and greater, would
Masturbate and exacerbate match up two syllables too
(|a(r)-BEIT| in the
pronunciation), but here it is the second of the two syllables
which is stressed, and the first which is unstressed.
It demonstrates how unsystematic, and therefore
unscientific, such a preoccupation with gender is; a
preoccupation which is often sexist to boot.
Not only is there an unusual type of end rime in masturbate
and exacerbate, there is also an unusual type of alliteration
in this pair of words.
The pronunciations of the two words are
|MAE·st·a(r)-BEIT| with primary stress on the
first syllable, and |ig-| or |eg-ZAE·s·a(r)-BEIT|
or |ek-SAE·s·a(r)-BEIT| with primary stress on
the second syllable.
Clearly, on the level of primary stress there is no alliteration;
there is (vocalic) assonance between vowels which do not appear at
the beginning of the stressed syllables.
(For assonant alliteration both vowels would have to be stressed and
However, on the levels of primary and secondary stress together there
definitely is consonantal alliteration.
And the stave is