R is for rhyme and rhyme scheme
A rhyme is the repetition of the same or similar sounds, most often in the final syllables of the final words in lines of poetry or song. Rhyme is also a verb, used even to describe how someone made an unintentionally poetic statement.
Rhyme is a poetic device. One common type of poetry features rhyming couplets.
All the stream that’s roaring by
Came out of a needle’s eye;
Things unborn, things that are gone,
From needle’s eye still goad it on.
— “A Needle’s Eye,” William Butler Yeats
A rhyme scheme is the pattern of the rhymes ending the lines of a poem or song. In English, different rhyme schemes have names, e.g., a limerick is AABBA.
Here is another example of rhyming couplets, using letters to mark the different rhymes.
He with body waged a fight, A
But body won; it walks upright. A
Then he struggled with the heart; B
Innocence and peace depart. B
Then he struggled with the mind; C
His proud heart he left behind. C
Now his wars on God begin; D
At stroke of midnight God shall win. D
— “The Four Ages of Man,” William Butler Yeats
Rhymes are also used as a mnemonic to aid memorization.
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, with twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine each leap year.
R is for rhythm
Rhythm is the regular beat of sounds and silence in speech, prose, poetry, or music. It is as natural as walking and breathing; our hearts beat in a rhythm. In music, the upbeat and downbeat correspond to the metre in poetry, which is measured in feet, e.g. da DUM, which is an iamb.
Iambic pentameter is a common rhythm in poetry, consisting of five iambs per line.
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
(Act 3, Scene 1)
—“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Shakespeare
- Do you have a favourite poem? What is its rhyme scheme and rhythm?
- Do you know any mnemonics used as memory aids? Do they rhyme?
Special reading assignment
- Rock cuts are a feature of Canadian landscape, especially in the north.
- Rest assured, Rosemary has rated the recipe for roasted radishes.