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Poetry requires that whitespace be preserved, but without resorting to monospace. To indicate this, use the following markup, reminiscent of email quotations.
> A line of Emacs verse; > forgive its being so terse.
You can also use the <verse> tag, if you prefer.
<verse> A line of Emacs verse; forgive its being so terse. </verse>
Multiple stanzas may be included in one set of <verse> tags, as follows.
<verse> A line of Emacs verse; forgive its being so terse. In terms of terse verse, you could do worse. </verse>