Posted in Poetry

The Sonnet

A true sonnet contains the following:

  1. 14 lines
  2. Each line is written in iambic pentameter. This means that there are 5 feet per line. In each foot there is one unstressed and one stressed syllable for a total of 10 syllables. If your sonnet has only 9 syllables in one or more lines, it is NOT in true sonnet form.
  3. A rhyme scheme. Choose from one of many rhyme schemes and stick to that rhyme scheme throughout your sonnet. (See my post from July 22, 2022 entitled Rhyme Schemes)

I once read a poem by someone who said it was a sonnet. Well, at least five of the 14 lines had only 9 syllables, so it wasn’t written in iambic pentameter, and it didn’t follow a rhyme scheme.

People complemented the writer of the poem by telling that person how great a sonnet it was. Well, it wasn’t a sonnet. It was a beautiful poem with lots of meaning, but it wasn’t a sonnet.

Sonnets can be tricky to write, and they take time, given everything that goes into them. What I do is get the iambic beat in my head as I’m writing a sonnet. This beat goes something like this:

Line 1: ta da’ ta da’ ta da’ ta da’ ta da’

In the above line 1 example, each ta da’ is a foot. Notice there are only 5 of them, no more no less. The tick mark after each da’ means that the accent is placed on that syllable. Here is another way to look at it. Let’s put some actual words to the Line 1 example above. Each word or part of a word that is in all caps is the syllable that receives the stress.

Line 1: When SNOW has COME and LINgered FOR a TIME,

Make sure your lines follow a rhyme scheme.

Rhyme Scheme Examples:

Petrarchan: also know as Italian. abba abba cde cde OR abba abba cdc dcd

Here is how it will look in line form:
Line 1: a
Line 2: b
Line 3: b
Line 4: a

In other words, Line 4 will have the same end rhyme as Line 1. And Line 3 will have the same end rhyme as Line 2. For Lines 5, 6, 7, and 8, you would follow the same rhyme as you have for Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4. Again, for my article on rhyme schemes, see my post entitled Rhyme Schemes dated July 22, 2022.

Take your time and don’t rush when writing a sonnet. When you’re finished with it, go through each line again by reading it and counting the syllables to make sure you have 10. Also, make sure you have 14 lines and follow a rhyme scheme. For more information on writing sonnets, click the link below.

https://nosweatshakespeare.com/sonnets/how-to-write-a-sonnet/

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.

Posted in Poetry

Types of Rhyme

If you write poetry, you are no stranger to rhyme. But rhyme goes further than just making the end words in lines of a poem rhyme. It can add to the flow of a poem as well. Below are the different types of rhyme and some examples of each.

  1. End rhyme: the rhyming of the end words of lines of a poem.
    Example: Thoughts like muddied water pooled,
    and sloshed around my head and dueled,
  2. Internal rhyme: the rhyming of two words within the same line of poetry. Or it can be the rhyming of words within lines across lines of a poem.
    Example: The light of day so pure and bright,
    as I lay upon the hay,
    Example: The light of day uplifts and blooms,
    so bright and easy within my heart,
  3. Slant rhyme: this is sometimes called imperfect or partial rhyme because it uses similar but not identical sounds.
    Example: On rose petals there I sat
    afloat in nature’s scented grasp,
  4. Eye rhyme:  an imperfect rhyme in which two words are spelled similarly but pronounced differently.
    Example: home, come
    bough, though
    love, move
    comb, bomb
  5. Identical rhyme: using the exact same word in the rhyming position.
    Example: Against the wall he moved to lean,
    and watch the cattle so thin and lean,
  6. Masculine rhyme: when the rhyme is on the final syllable of the two rhyming words. Usually they are monosyllabic words or a rhyme only occurring in the final syllable
    Example: look, took
    cat, sat
    rare, despair
  7. Feminine rhyme: when not one but two syllables rhyme. The first syllable is stressed and the second syllable is unstressed.
    Example: measles, weasels— Notice that the first syllables in each of these words rhyme and is stressed, whereas the second syllable in each word rhymes but is unstressed.

The above types of rhyme are seven of the most popular. I’m sure you’ve used some of them already without necessarily knowing the names of them. Have fun with them.