Parallelism

There are three main forms of Parallelism in Hebrew poetry. Synonymous Parallelism restates the idea of the first line in the second, using different words, or a different image. Antithetical Parallelism contrasts or contradicts the two lines. The second line often begins with the word “but.” In Synthetic Parallelism, the second line supplements or expands the first. All three types of Parallelism can be used in a single poem comprised of couplets.

Synonymous:

its raining
its pouring

over those hills
just beyond them

above the moon
high in the sky

Antithetical:

in a cold cold wind
on a hot hot day
there lived a pious youth
who was dead and withered away
he was jolly and liked to play
the strain brought him down
so he went to town
and stayed in the forest
he found a penny
and lost a cent
he sold his boat
and bought a ship
he sailed for a year and a day
and arrived before he left
in a place he’d never been before
he was finally home
so he decided to stay a while
and promptly left

Synthetic:

trees rustled
wind blew back and forth through their leaves

it was night
this hemisphere turned its back on the sun

I had pizza for lunch
because I like pizza

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