Poetry Writing Exercise #5: Rhyming Quatrains

Discussion related to the topic Poetry Writing Exercise #5: Rhyming Quatrains

Forum : All About Writing : Poetry Writing Exercise #5: Rhyming Quatrains
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Douglas
Posted at: Jun 20, 2010 at 3:28 AM 
We've done several poetry exercises, and haven't yet done anything with rhymes. It's about time we remedied that situation!

A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words. I could give you a more detailed definition, but examples should do the trick:

rhyme, time, sublime, grime
fee, see, lee, key
board, ford, afford

A quatrain is a series of four lines of poetry. When writing in iambic pentameter (our previous exercise), it is common to make lines of a quatrain rhyme in one of the following patterns:

ABAB: This means that the first and third lines rhyme, and the second and fourth lines rhyme. This is used in Elizabethan sonnets.

ABBA: This means that the first and fourth lines rhyme, and the second and third lines rhyme. This is used in Italian sonnets.

AABB: This means that the first and second lines rhyme, as do the third and fourth. Two successive lines of rhyming iambic pentameter are called heroic couplets.

ABCB: This means that only the second and fourth lines rhyme. This is similar to ABAB, except it only has half as many rhymes, making it easier to write. I used ABCB here: Jazz Ensemble

So here is your exercise: Each day, pick a different rhyme scheme from above, and write a rhyming quatrain.

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 20, 2010 at 3:35 AM 
I'm going to stop writing accented syllables in upper case; by now we should be able to do meter mentally, without beating our readers over the head with it. ;)

My favorite of the rhyme schemes is ABAB, so I'll start with that.

Today I woke before the break of day,
And wished the pain I felt would help me learn
That hiking underneath the sun's bright rays
Is one sure way to cause my neck to burn.

Incidentally, you'll notice that "day" and "rays" are not perfect rhymes. Words that almost rhyme, but not quite, are called slant rhymes, and it's perfectly fine to use them. In fact, in many cases I prefer them, because they open up a whole new set of possibilities. Plus, sometimes a slant rhyme can actually sound less "forced" than a perfect rhyme.
~Edited by Douglas, Jun 20, 2010 at 3:40 AM

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 20, 2010 at 3:43 AM 
When writing rhyming poetry, I make consistent use of the following sites, which you may wish to bookmark and use:

<a href="http://rhyme.poetry.com/">Rhyming Dictionary</a>: Type a word, the site lists words that rhyme.

<a href="http://thesaurus.com/">Thesaurus</a>: If you can't come up with a rhyme, type a word here and check out the synonyms.

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Jun 20, 2010 at 5:35 AM 
I need a place to spend the night today
To stay with you it would be thoughtful and sweet
I need a space to live and a space to play
with your abode my needs are quite Complete

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 20, 2010 at 6:24 AM 
ABBA

To pass the evening's swiftly fading light,
I pulled from off the shelf a poet's book,
Swept cobwebs from imagination's nook,
And filled my mind with wonder and delight.

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 20, 2010 at 6:42 AM 
AABB

If works of beauty last beyond the realm
Of time and space where moth and rust o'erwhelm,
Then this poor bit of poetry, I trust
Is surely doomed to quickly bite the dust.

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 21, 2010 at 3:49 AM 
True story:

Today I'll visit one Maine's grand peaks,
Where friendly birds are eager to be fed;
Audaciously they grasp with hungry beaks,
And land with ease on unsuspecting heads.

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Jun 21, 2010 at 8:30 AM 
ABBA
To friends it's ever after lasting peace
We share our fears we share our joys and hopes
We're bound together without a chain or ropes
If you're my friend our bond will never cease

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 21, 2010 at 4:56 PM 
Quote
ABBA
To friends it's ever after lasting peace
We share our fears we share our joys and hopes
We're bound together without a chain or ropes
If you're my friend our bond will never cease

Perfect rhyme, lovely sentiment, nearly perfect meter. :) You've got one small quirk in meter on line three, with two unaccented syllables together. If you wanted to fix that, one way would be like this:

"We're bound together without chains or ropes"

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Jun 21, 2010 at 6:08 PM 
AABB
My dog is big my dog is brown and furry
We walk and run, as critters run and scurry
His name is Jack and does he play all day
If asked why it's just because he may

Laura
Posted at: Jun 21, 2010 at 6:29 PM 
ABAB

My cat just loves to chase house-flies around
And that's just fine - he needs a chance to play,
But when he is so swift, without a sound,
It makes me hope he'll watch what's in the way...

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 22, 2010 at 3:49 AM 
ABCB

My dodo bird is yellow, green and blue
With just a touch of red around his throat
And though the dodo birds are quite extinct,
That silly bird, he's surely got my vote!

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Jun 22, 2010 at 3:50 AM 
ABCB
My house is lonely dark and tightly shut
And still I'm glad and eager, homeward bound
Open the doors and raise the blinds lets light in
I fear not dark but what is that, a sound?
It's just my kitty glad I'm home at last

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 22, 2010 at 3:52 AM 
We've got quite a pet theme going on here, don't we? :D

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Jun 22, 2010 at 7:13 PM 
No man is lonely with a pet
A pet will stay no matter what
A pet is love and that's a bet
A pet is happy to watch you strut


Douglas
Posted at: Jun 23, 2010 at 2:15 AM 
Quote
No man is lonely with a pet
A pet will stay no matter what
A pet is love and that's a bet
A pet is happy to watch you strut


Ooh...a switch to iambic tetrameter! (four iambs per line instead of five) :)

One meter glitch in the last line, which could be fixed by changing "happy" to "glad"

Douglas
Posted at: Jun 23, 2010 at 2:43 AM 
ABCB, with a slant rhyme (mistake/dissipate)

At times the muses sing to me with sweet
And gentle voices I cannot mistake;
But other times they laugh with mocking tones
And cause poetic thoughts to dissipate.


Douglas
Posted at: Jun 24, 2010 at 4:59 AM 
I looked this morning, with a bit of shock
To see the numbers written on my clock
And found that I had slept 'til half-past seven;
Now that was just a tiny bit of heaven!

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Jun 24, 2010 at 5:42 AM 
ABCD
My car is broke it won't run right, or wrong
My cash is gone, credit is gone alas too long
A walk is said to help my health, oh right
I think I'd just as well, go ride a bite


Douglas
Posted at: Jun 25, 2010 at 3:27 AM 
It's hard to comprehend that I am on
My way to spend another summer gone
To work as pastor to a bunch of teens;
Perhaps it's time to call in the marines!
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