There are many things that differentiate poetry from prose. One of those differences is line length. The other is the use of poetic devices that heighten the use of language and sound. Rhyme is one of those poetic devices. Learning how to write poems that rhyme isn't always easy, even some of the pros need help. If you would like to know how to write rhyming poetry, here are some tips.
- True rhyme is characterized by identical sound that starts with the accented vowel in both words and continues on to the end of the word. Some examples of true rhyme are ocean/motion, tropic/myopic, hand/understand.
- You can see that rhyming words don't need to be the same number of syllables. A one-syllable word can rhyme with a three-syllable word as long as the rhyme begins at the accented vowel and continues to the end of the word.
- In true rhyme, the sounds preceding the accented vowels must differ. Basically this means that in true rhyme, you can't rhyme a word with itself.
- Using end rhyme is the most common form of writing poetry that rhymes. End rhyme is the use of rhyming words at the ends of the lines of a poem.
- The use of end rhyme creates what is called a rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words in a poem. If you have a stanza of four lines (known as a quatrain) and the words at the end of the first and the third lines rhyme and the words at the end of the second and the fourth line rhyme, you have a rhyme scheme of abab.
It will look like this:
I went to the store (a)
To buy some milk (b)
But I found something more (a)
A scarf of silk. (b)
- If you are new to rhyming poetry, start simple. Write a couplet (two lines of rhymed poetry). Then try a triplet (three lines) and finally a quatrain. Once you've written a few simple rhyming poems, move on to poems with more than one stanza.
- If you are going to write a rhyming poem with more than one stanza, it is common to stick to the same rhyme scheme throughout the poem with the exception of the last stanza. So if you choose to write a poem with four stanzas, three of the stanzas would have the same number of lines and the same rhyme scheme. The last stanza can vary.
Suppose you're going to write a poem with three quatrains and one couplet. Your rhyme scheme could look something like this: abba, cddc, effe, gg.
- It's not necessary that the end of each line be the end of a sentence or a thought. In fact, when the natural break of a rhyming poem comes at the end of each line, it makes the poem sing-songy. Sometimes, this is the desired effect, especially when writing children's poetry. However, if you wrap your thought around to the next line, one line will flow easily into the next and the rhyme will take on a more subtle effect. Good poems that rhyme don't all follow the same rule. It all depends on the effect you are looking for.
- Once you've gotten a handle on writing simple rhyming poems, try your hand at a more complicated established form of rhyming poetry such as a sonnet.
- Try your hand at writing poems with internal rhyme and not just end rhyme. Internal rhyme is a poetic device in which the rhyme occurs within the same line. An example of internal rhyme would be, "and with each chime I knew that time." The words "chime" and "time" occur in the same line. There are so many types of poetry, so look into which type is best for your poem.
- You can also use other poetic devices in your rhyming poem to give its language and sound an even more heightened effect. The use of alliteration, rhythm, and imagery such as similes and metaphors will make your poem more effective.
- The best way to learn how to write better rhyming poetry is to read a lot of rhyming poetry. Spend some time reading poems by both famous poets and non-famous poets as well.