I don’t mean the appendage on the bottom of one’s legs, I mean the poetic term. I want to take a moment to talk about meter. (A foot, by the way, is the smallest unit of rhythm in a poem.)
I write predominantly in iambic or trochaic meter. That is, unaccented-accented and accented-unaccented, respectively. These are both very close to actual English speech, as such, I practically think in those metres. I like to say I think in iambic pentameter, because I talk in my sleep and the snippets I’ve been able to maintain were actually in iambic pentameter. They have since been adapted into a long, long unfinished poem.
An example of iambic pentameter: Last night I slept the sleep of gentle dreams.
One of my favorite metres is the anapest or antidactylus. This is unaccented-unaccented-accented. I love the since of urgency and speed it induces, as well as the really strong and heavy rhymes that close up a line of anapests. They’re also a lot more difficult to write. I’ve found I work best when I tap out that quick rhythm they have.
For example, from my “Song for the Righteous”: You are the righteous, the good, and the strong.
I was bad when I wrote that and didn’t actually start with an anapest. I find starting an anapaestic line with a shorter foot a good way to get the poem up to speed.
The rest of the possible feet are constructed from variations of accented and unaccented syllables. Dactyls are the reverse of an anapest, for one. However, many those are much less common forms (except the dactyl). For example, the tribach, three unaccented syllables, is incredibly rare in English poetry.
edit: (I have not figured out how to respond to things on Tumblr yet.) @Lulies It’s funny that you should use that as an example. I would agree that it isn’t very pleasant rhythmically, but I do think it’s a fairly simple meter, just not a sort I talked about here. That meter is based solely on the number of accented syllables. (Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote a lot of those.) It does have a “beauty” of sorts, I think, but more of a “clever” beauty, the beauty of an intellectual exercise.