Class 2 - It's Time to Rhyme

posted Aug 23, 2011, 7:13 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush   [ updated Aug 23, 2011, 7:15 AM by Bovso Oakengates ]
Welcome to part two of the poetry classes.

As with the previous lesson, you don't have to follow anything you learn here. You can go away and write your poems however you like.
However, I hope it provides a good starting point for you, and gives you plenty to think about.

LESSON 2

Most folk will be familar with words that rhyme, and having poems that rhyme is very common indeed. Of course, not all poems will have rhymes, but in this lesson will be concentrating on ones that do.

Given a word, it is usually fairly straight-forward to think of words that sound the same

For example "Tree"

Bee
Key
See
Me
Free
Bree

There are lots!

Some words have fewer rhymes, however.

For example,  Pig

Dig
Twig
Big

Without further ado, let's have an easy exercise!

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Exercise 1

There is a fine bard in Michel Delving. Suppose you are going to write a poem about her.
Think of some words that rhyme with "Bard"

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Now, here is a very short poem about a bard.

#There lived a very clever bard#
#The tunes she played were very hard#

Now listen listen to this slightly different version.

#There was a bard, whose tunes were hard#
#For she was very clever#

You see, were often think rhymes should go at the end of lines of poems. This is called End Rhyming.
But this in not always the case, sometimes the rhymes can go inside the line!
This is called Internal Rhyming.

End Rhyming is the most common way to rhyme, but feel free to use this Internal Rhyming too.

In both cases, the main challenge is picking words that rhyme.

Sometimes though, you may start working on a poem, and end a line with a word with few rhymes.
And then, you may end up picking a rather strange word, or having to alter the meaning of your line, to get it to rhyme.

#The hobbit's belly did give a rumble#
#He saw a bee that was a bumble#

This is best to be avoided!
Remember the lesson about rhythms? Your poem should sound natural.
If a word or line stands out just becasue you picked it to rhyme, you should consider changing it.

But don't panic! There are some tricks you can use.

For example,  what rhymes with "Bun"?

Fun
Sun
Won

Now, does "Bug" rhyme with "Bun"?

No?

In fact, the answer is Yes!

This is a technique known as a "Partial Rhyme". 
The middle "u" sound matches in both cases, but the very last bit of the sounds, "n" and "g", does not.

You could also have words like these:

Bud
Mud
Mum

Slightly differently, the following words are also Partial Rhymes

Can
Tin

In these cases, the very last "n" sound matches, but the middle sounds, "a" and "i", doesn't match the "u" sound.

An even better partial rhyme could be "Bin", because the first part of the word matches too.

Bun
Bin

By allowing Partial Rhymes, this gives you more flexibility in your rhyming.
Remember, you don't want to pick unusual words, or have odd sounding line, just because they rhyme exactly.

Partial Rhymes can work better as Internal Rhymes, but using them as End Rhymes is perfectly good too!

Now, it's your turn to think of some!

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EXERCISE 2

Think of some Partial Rhymes for the word  "Hop" and "Mask"

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So, far we have looked at very simple words. But, of course, there are much longer words we may need to rhyme

For, example, what rhymes with "Merry"

Very
Berry
Cherry

What wouldn't be so good, was to try and rhyme with the words "A Tree", for example.

#The hobbit was merry#
#He danced by a tree#

Now, the end "ry" and "ree" sounds match, but it still doesn't sound quite right.
The reason is to do with the rhythm!

Merry has a rhythm of "Dum-da"
#MER-ry#

But when we say "a tree", this has a rhythm of "da-Dum"
#a TREE#

We are trying to rhyme the weaker "ry" sound, with the stronger "REE" sound.

The main point is that for longer words, you want the 'stressed' bits to rhyme.
So, here "TREE" does not rhyme at all with the "MER" sound.

Similarly, consider the word "Beating"

#The drum is beating#
#It's quite an old thing#

Here, "beating" has the rhythm "Dum-da", but "old thing" has a rhythm "da-Dum".

#BEAT-ing#
#old THING#

Really, to rhyme with "beating", we should be looking to rhyme with "Beat"

Meeting
Seating
Tweeting

#The drums are beating#
#The birds are tweeting#

And word can be even longer still!
For example, the word "Disaster", which has a "da-Dum-da" rhythm

Master
Plaster
Faster

Even though they are shorter, they all these could be used.
They all have "Dum-da" rhythm to match the end of the word "disaster"

#The hobbit ran faster#
#To thwart a disaster#

Now, yet another exercise!

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EXERCISE 3

Come up with a three line poem, with each line ending in a word that rhymes with "clapping"
You can use "clapping" as one of the words if you like!

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One final thing to consider, is something with a fancy name, called "alliteration".
It's maybe easier to call it "Head-Rhyming" though.
Listen to this:

#Simbo sighed at the sight of a pie#
#Lina licked her lips at the biscuit#

Here, it is the start of the words that sound similar, not the ends of the words.

#Si-mbo Si-ghed at the Si-ght of a pie#

This head-rhyming was used quite a lot in very old hobbit poetry.
Indeed, the head rhymes would often form the actual rhythm of the poem, and not the 'da-dums' we learnt about!

But it still can be good to use head-rhymes in poems, as they can add a bit of emphasis here and there.

#Deep in the depths of the dark forest#

One final set of rhyming words is worth mentioning, although you may not use them that often.
Indeed, some folk frown upon using them at all!
Listen to these lines.

#The hobbits gave out lots of sighs#
#When they saw the biscuit's size#

"Sighs" and "Size" both sound exactly the same, but are spelt differently!

Other such rhymes could include "Weight" and "Wait", or "Nose" and "Knows"

#The hobbit lad, he knows#
#A spot is on his nose#

Now, listen to these lines

#The Shirriff, who was dressed so fine#
#Made the rascal pay a fine!#

Two words, "fine" and "fine" that are sound the same, are spelt the same, but mean two different things!

Would you use such rhymes often?
Maybe not!
One place where you may hear them, is at the end of longer words

#The hobbits took delight#
#To dance by firelight#

So, although we are rhyming the word "light" twice, it is at the end of longer words, so maybe it doesn't sound so odd.

One final exercise to round things off

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EXERCISE 4

Think of a single line of poetry that features your name, and at least two "Head Rhymes" for you name.

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And that concludes the class!
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