Poetry essay: Rhyming poetry can be serious poetry

Sometimes rhyming poetry can be viewed as lacking seriousness.

For example, poems for children sometimes rhyme.  Advertising jingles can rhyme.  Simple poetry forms can rhyme.  Also, old poetry forms, like sonnets, can rhyme.

Additionally, rhyming poetry, with its predictable sounds, might not seem appropriate for certain subjects.

Rhyming though doesn’t have to be viewed this way.  Rhyming poetry can be serious poetry.  Here are some ways that you can make your rhyming poetry serious.

First, you can focus on having a serious subject matter.  Although serious subject matters are often viewed synonymously with negative subject matters, it does not have to be so.  Something can be serious and positive.  An example might be the first person of a certain category to achieve something.

Second, you can focus on complex rhyming patterns.  Basic rhyming patterns are things like ABAB or ABAC or ABCB.  You can focus on patterns that are more complex.  More complex patterns include more rhymes, less adherence to stanzas, and greater variation.

Third, you can look for non-traditional rhyming words.  By finding words that are unexpected, you can add a different sound to your poetry.

Fourth, you can write in a serious tone.  A serious tone can have rhymes.  The rhymes can blend with the tone and enhance it.

Fifth, you can add other poetry elements to your poem to give the look of an unstructured experimental poetry form.  These elements might include: stanzas of different lengths, line breaks, line indentions without a pattern, single word lines, and lack of sentence structure.  A poem written in this way, though rhyming, can appear more serious.

Sixth, you can add elements of overtness to your poem.  If you write about a serious subject, in a serious way, and don’t cover it too heavily with metaphor, the seriousness can come through and balance with the rhyming.

Seventh, you can use literary elements to add a serious tone to your poem.

Here is an example poem that is serious and also contains rhyme.  The pattern is: ABCDEAFCAE.

You say the words with such ease
like you’re saying there’s something wrong with an engine.
But here, in this chair,
the engine runs.
It’s not in some car in some lot.
These are the pistons that seize.
But you’re detached.
You’ve been taught not to care.
It’s never you who cries on your knees.
Your heart beats like it’s been taught.

Poetry essay: Rhyming in poetry

The first poetry you may have encountered as a child might have been rhyming poetry.  Something like:

Look at the dog play,
he runs and romps all day,
he turns in every way,
oh look at the dog play.

Poetry like this can be approachable, sound simple, “sound like poetry”, and the regular sound of the rhyme makes it easy to say.  Because of this, this type of poetry can be used to introduce poetry to children.

You may have also read poetry from the previous time periods like those of the 19th century.  Some of these poems have rhyme, but the subjects, form, and style can be more complex than what is above.

In incorporating rhyme into your own poetry there are a number of things to consider.

Rhyming pattern

One of the first things to consider is what pattern the rhyme will take.  One familiar pattern might be ABCB, where every even line rhymes.  There are also other simple patterns like ABBA and ABCA.

Although a rhyming pattern can be simple, it can also be complex.  A poet could have a pattern that works across stanzas and has a number of rhyming components to it.  The more complex the pattern though, the less noticeable the rhymes might be.  If the pattern was complex enough, and the poem long enough, a reader might not even notice there was a pattern.

Poetry tone

Rhyme imparts a tone to poetry.  Sometimes it can sound simplistic.  It can also sound melodic.  It could even be humorous.  These characteristics work well with poems where the subject fits that.

In a more serious poem though, rhyme might seem inappropriate.  A poem about poverty might not sound right with a rhyming pattern.  It could work though if the poem was meant to sound satirical or if the rhyme was meant to impart a song like quality to idea.

The idea here is that rhyme changes the tone of a poem, and a poet should consider that when considering it for a poem.

Mixing with other elements

Rhyme can be mixed with other elements.  One choice that can work well is meter.  A regular beat with rhyme in a discernible pattern can add a predictable quality to the sound of a poem, and make it easy for a person to read, recite, and remember.

Rhyme can also be mixed with other elements as well.  Some examples include an acrostic poem with rhyme, a stanza structure with rhyme, and word count with rhyme.

The difficulty with rhyming

Rhyming can sometimes be easy.  Think of a word like “gold”.  There are a number of words that rhyme with it.  Some include: bold, cold, fold, hold, mold, old, polled, rolled, sold, and told.

Other words though can be difficult to find rhymes for.  For example, what rhymes with “mountain”?  One word is “fountain”.  Other words though might be harder to find.

A poet should keep this in mind for two reasons.

First, if a poet uses a word in a rhyming position that is hard to rhyme with, this can make the poem more difficult for the poet to write.  This can especially be the case, if the poet is going to have multiple words rhyme with the base word.

Second, the words that rhyme with a word can influence the meaning of a poem.  Using the example of the word “mountain”, if a poet had this word in a rhyming position in their poem, it would affect the poem.  If the poet had to use “fountain” as the rhyme for the word, this would influence the meaning of their poem.  Since a poet would have to make the two words work together, it would change what they write.

Where are the rhymes?

Although it might be common to have rhymes at the end of lines, as has been seen in experimental poetry forms on this blog, they don’t have to be there.  There are a number of alternatives.  For example, the first word of each line might rhyme.  Or, there could be rhyming words on offset lines.  There could also be rhymes within lines.  There are number of things a poet could experiment with.

Experimental Poetry Form: increasing rhyme

Today’s experimental poetry form is called increasing rhyme.  It is similar to the experimental poetry form from yesterday’s post.

Like the experimental poetry form from yesterday, this form has four stanzas, each with four lines.  In yesterday’s post, the number of four syllable lines increased with each stanza.  In this form, the number of rhyming lines increases with each stanza.

In the first stanza, none of the lines rhyme.

In the second stanza, the last two lines rhyme with each other.

In the third stanza, the last three lines rhyme with each other.

In the fourth stanza, all four lines rhyme with each other.

The rhymes are contained within each stanza.  The rhyming lines from one stanza do not rhyme with the rhyming lines from the other stanzas.

Here is what the form looks like with the non-rhyming lines noted with an * and the rhyming sets noted with letters:

*
*
*
*

*
*
A
A

*
B
B
B

C
C
C
C

Experimental Poetry Form: rhyming with syllable count for the rhyming words

This experimental poetry form focuses on rhyming, with the added feature of syllable count for the rhyming words.  Here are the specifics of the form:

One stanza

Six lines

Five words per line

Lines 1 and 4 rhyme

Lines 2 and 5 rhyme

Lines 3 and 6 rhyme

Lines 1 and 4 each end with a one syllable word

Lines 2 and 5 each end with a two syllable word

Lines 3 and 6 each end with a three syllable word

 

Here is an example poem to illustrate the form:

Radio play

There alone on the chair,
sitting by the radio seeing,
the man hiding there silently,
and imagining his cold glare,
knowing he’s a fictional being,
yet still running off violently.

Post Series: The Christmas Series: Experimental Poetry Form: Twelve days of Christmas

This experimental poetry form is inspired by the twelve days of Christmas.  The form has twelve lines, each line has twelve syllables, and all of the lines rhyme.  The lines rhyme to add an additional layer of cohesiveness.  While finding twelve words that rhyme can be difficult, it is possible.  For example, the following twelve words rhyme: bell cell del dell ell excel fell gel jell sell tell well.  There are presumably other examples.

Poem with an explanation: October

Outside things start to change,
colors change in minute ways,
the sun has less time for its rays,
outside things start to change,
birds leave over the days,
emerging blooms of wildflowers come out on the range,
redness grows as evergreen green stays.

 

The poem above is an acrostic poem of “October”.  The idea was selected because today is October first.  The poem has a form that is similar to other poems of this type that have been on this blog.  The letters in “October” that repeat, the “o’s”, are repeating lines in the poem.  The lines that start with vowels (the first, fourth, and sixth), rhyme with each other.  The lines that start with consonants (the second, third, fifth, and seventh) rhyme with each other.  The idea of the poem was to describe the beginning of fall.

Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Acrostic matching and rhyming: Day after equinox

Dawn began with light so gold,
a morning of change was here,
yet though the day was not old,
a morning of change was here.

For though today we are so told,
“The days of past have lost their hold,”
expecting change that we can see,
 red and yellow colors so bold,
expecting change that we can see,
quietly we stand in air not cold,
understanding the words that we were sold,
in expectation of a different mold,
outside we stand as sounds are polled,
xylophone notes familiarly rolled.

 

(37/40) Experimental Poetry Form: Acrostic matching and rhyming

Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Rhyming and Indention: Bird Not-Watching

The jays and crows do hide,
and none of them do chide,
as time they do so bide.
  The sky is clear and blue,
   and none of them do fly,
   with wings in air so high,
   in wind that does move by,
  right through the soft blue hue,
  that looks empty and new.
The cardinals cry out,
with hawks that do so shout,
  but they cannot be seen,
  the sky above is clean,
  their hiding skills are keen,
and this they do so tout.
   Though eyes do seek their sight,
   the birds are not around,
   and though this is a plight,
   at least one hears their sound,
   out in the morning light,
   when none of them are found.

 

(24/40) Experimental Poetry Form: Rhyming and Indention

 

P.S. M. Sakran has a poem pending publication with Blue Bonnet Review.  Blue Bonnet Review can be found at www.bluebonnetreview.com.

Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Random Rhyming: The learned voice

The doctor said that he would die,
and spoke these words aloud so sure,
she said the man would die that week,
and that if they did think this wrong,
that they would not accept the fact,
that she so learned to them did speak.
But there the group did kneel and pray,
and they stayed there for very long,
but she so learned did scoff at them,
and said that she for sure knew best,
that she did pass the wisdom test,
and that they should accept her word.
But there the group did keep their pact,
for her loud words not one had heard,
they just believed in what they knew,
and held their hope like a bright gem.
And then three weeks did flow away,
and all the eyes who saw did cry,
for the ill man was well and new,
and arrogance this sight did cure.

 

(13/40) Experimental Poetry Form: Random Rhyming

Post Series: The Citrus Series: Experimental Poetry Form: Acrostic matching and rhyming

In the Citrus Series post on June 16th, it was mentioned in the explanation of the poem, that one reason a sonnet was chosen for part of the poem, was that a sonnet did not have repeating lines.  The idea was, that given that the poem was an acrostic poem using the phrase “Unripe Citrus Fruit”, that a poetry form, such as a triolet, would not fit, because the repeats would not match the acrostic characteristic of the poem.  It was mentioned that, to have a repeating poem match the acrostic nature of the poem, that an experimental poetry form would need to be used.  That is the basis of this experimental poetry form.

The general structure of the experimental poetry form consists of three aspects:

  1. It is an acrostic poem of a short phrase.
  2. The letters in the phrase that match, correspond to matching sets of lines in the poem.
  3. The group of letters that appear only once in the phrase, are rhyming lines in the poem.

As an illustration, here is how the form applies to the phrase “Unripe Citrus Fruit”:

  • The poem is an acrostic poem of the phrase “Unripe Citrus Fruit”
  • The first, eleventh, and fifteenth lines of the poem are the same
  • The fourth, eighth, and sixteenth lines of the poem are the same
  • The third, tenth, and fourteenth lines of the poem are the same
  • The ninth and seventeenth lines of the poem are the same
  • The second, fifth, sixth, seventh, twelve, and thirteenth lines of the poem rhyme

The matching sets of lines, match the matching letters in the phrase “Unripe Citrus Fruit”.  For example, the “U” lines match.  The letters in the phrase that only appear once, such as “N”, are the rhyming lines.

This is a specific example of the general experimental poetry form.  Its use would vary depending on the starting phrase.

Here is an example poem, in the form, using the phrase “Unripe Citrus Fruit” and inspired by the photograph of the series:

Underneath the sun,
next to leaves that are green,
reclining behind a leaf,
it seems to rest.

  Perhaps it seeks to glean,
  enchantment from what is seen,
  content as it does lean.

It seems to rest,
there where it is,
reclining behind a leaf,
underneath the sun.

Seeking what rest does mean,
finding no need to preen,
  reclining behind a leaf,
  underneath the sun,
it seems to rest,
there where it is.

 

P.S.  Today on MSakran.com, there is a new set of photography, artwork, poetry and fiction.  As mentioned before, the photograph, artwork and fiction can inspire poetry, and the poem there can be read.