Posted in Poetry

Rhyme Scheme

When a work of poetry contains rhyme, there is a pattern to this rhyme as the poem moves from the beginning to the end. This pattern is called rhyme scheme. Let’s look at the poem below entitled Pride from a blog post written on June 9, 2022. The rhyme scheme for this poem is aab b ccd d. Notice that lines 4 and 9 don’t rhyme with any other line, so we leave that blank.

Line 1: Against the wind one pushes forth, a
Line 2: with fight and footsteps heading north, a
Line 3: an arctic breeze inside it grabs b
Line 4: a hold of bones
Line 5: the heart it stabs. b

Line 6: How to stop this hardship now, c
Line 7: just ask for help, to you it bows, c
Line 8: no and no for help is forbidden, d
Line 9: to do for oneself
Line 10: so they’ll be forgiven. d

The letter a in lines 1 and 2 represent the first rhyme sound. The letter b in lines 3 and 5 represent the second rhyme sound. The letter c in lines 6 and 7 represent the third rhyme sound, and the letter d represents the fourth rhyme sound.

Is it possible to have lines further on down in the poem rhyme with lines further up in the poem? Yes. Let’s look at the poem below. Notice that lines 5 and 6 rhyme with the first rhyme in lines 1 and 2, therefore their rhyme is labeled with an a. The rhyme scheme for this poem is:
aabb aacc

Line 1: A wave rolled smoothly to the shore, a
Line 2: unlocking beauty’s lushes door, a
Line 3: so fluent did it merely creep, b
Line 4: and o’er the sand to make me sleep. b

Line 5: Dream I did of clouds and lore, a
Line 6: that left me struck and wanting more, a
Line 7: but breezes came and touched my face, c
Line 8: with nature’s fingers of love and lace. c

Do these rhyme schemes or patterns have to be coupled together as above? No. Let’s take a look at the poem below, Sonnet I: Winter from my blog post on June 3, 2021. Notice that now each end word of every line rhymes with the line two lines down from it. So, this is how the rhyme scheme looks: abab cdcd efef gg

When snow has come and lingered for a time, a
The mountains shine like pure white satin sheets. b
The jagged rocks that stand and point like knives, a
Have but a look of poise and symmetry. b
The houses they in hibernation go, c
and sink like ships way deep beneath the waves. d
Cold air does whoosh in frigid gusty blows, c
But stops to peek a while inside a cave. d
The birds take off from empty bare tree nests, e
To seek their food which they know is not there. f
The trees did fall asleep like all the rest e
Of this great wintry beauty of no where. f
The hunters coming back from years afar, g
Do find their world still bright like heaven’s star. g

There are more rhyme schemes than what I have displayed here. This is just a basic view of what a rhyme scheme is. Below is an excellent link that delves further into the different rhyme schemes used in poetry.


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