One thing people notice in my poems is the extensive use to rhyme and rhythm. It is something at which I work diligently. Is it necessary? No, but my “style” depends on it.

If you were to ask someone what a poem is, it would elicit a number of responses. As poets, we have learned that poetry can be found in pretty much any place we look. A laundry list could inspire a poem, as can ingredients of a cereal box, etc.

But to a general reader, they may say a poem is something that rhymes. We work with words, and sometimes despise the use of rhymes, yet surely they are not less important nor effective as any of the sound devices we use. Rhymes are certain sounds that help convey out thoughts. Today, we will delve into the use and reason for rhyme.

So to refresh, what are rhymes? Rhymes generally are words that differ only on their initial sounds. Sounds like true and blue, or leg and beg. Looking at that, we find that some words do not have an English word with which it rhymes: orange, month, circle, purple are some examples. Even a word that poets use a lot in our work, LOVE, has a limited number of rhyme words. There are subtleties to the rhyming process.

The first things we will incorporate in our works are the placements of rhyme. We are familiar with end rhymes. These words obviously come at the end of our lines.

Initial rhymes conversely come at the beginning of the lines.

(Free xxxx xxxx xxxx.
See xxxx xxxx xxxx)

Medial (middle) rhymes are a bit more complex. They can be “internal”, a rhyme between a medial word and the end rhyme.

(xxx thou xxx cow).

A “close” rhyme is an internal rhyme between words that are in close proximity to each other, neither at the end of a line.

(Smug xxx bug xxx).

“Interlaced” rhymes are words that appear internally in two consecutive lines.

(xxxxx door xxxx,
xxxx floor xxxx)

So as we see, the placement of rhyme can interject different moods and inflections into what it is we want to say. Some say it is as important as the rhyme itself. When I began writing poetic verse (back in the day) my impression of what constituted poetry was purely the sing-songy (moon, spoon, June) end rhyme. I learned quickly there was more to it than that. But still, I considered rhyme important!

Rhymes (sound pairs) fall into some specific categories, all of which can achieve varied effects no matter where they are placed. By definition:

Perfect rhyme. (Also true rhyme, full rhyme) The initial sound is different no matter how many syllables rhyme. Examples: true/blue, money/sunny, happily/snappily,…

Also considered Perfect rhyme:

  • Strong or Hard (masculine) rhyme – Perfect rhymes occurring on a single, stressed syllable. Examples: prize/wise, prize/despise (this two syllable word is iambic)…
  • Weak or Soft (feminine) rhyme – Perfect rhyme that begins on a stressed syllable, ending on the final unstressed syllable. When the word involves three syllables, it is called triple rhyme. Examples: darling/starling, reference/preference…
  • Mosaic rhyme – A perfect rhyme formed by combining shorter words to rhyme with a multi-syllabic word. Examples: poet/know it, spirit/hear it, Longfellow/strong fellow…
  • Broken rhyme – A perfect rhyme formed by hyphenating (or breaking) a word across the end of a line. Examples:

x x x x x x fate

x x x x x x x await-

ing x x x x x x x


Identical rhyme. (Also called autorhyme, null rhyme, self-rhyme) These rhyme words are identical. It is called rich rhyme if the words are homonyms. Examples: cheer/cheer, seat/seat, ideal/ideal,…


Near rhyme. (also called off rhyme, slant rhyme, half rhyme) These are approximate rhymes that are picked by the poet to convey a certain effect. They are deliberate rhymes and not failures to achieve perfect rhymes. Not to be confused with close rhyme which refers to location or placement of the rhyme. Examples: seal/seat, foot/fault, hearing/herring,…


Also considered Near Rhyme:

  •  Wrenched Rhyme – The pronunciation or spelling of one or more words is manipulated to force a rhyme. It can also be done by changing the sound or shifting the stress. Usually used to express surprise, cleverness or humor. Examples: element/elephant, defunct/elephunt, wench/mensch…
  • Eye Rhyme (or printer’s rhyme) -Two words with homographic endings of different pronunciations. Examples: move/love/stove, good/food, bough/cough/through, pants/wants,…
  • Assonance – Only the vowel sound is repeated. Examples: but/stud, sad/back, mold/soda,…
  • Consonance – Only the final consonant sound is repeated. Examples: hat/shot, school,hall,…
  • Pararhyme (frame rhyme) –  The first and last consonant sounds are repeated, but the vowel sound between is different. Examples: soup/shop, bolt/best, meant/mint,…

The kinds of rhymes available to us are widely varied. They all serve a useful purpose in our daily expression and poemic endeavors. A suggestion: Continuing on the theme of the arrival of Autumn and my exploration of the senses (The Sound of Love), Use the idea of the scents or flavors of the Fall season, write your poems with an eye toward including some of these rhyming techniques. Of course, you can go off base and write any poem on any subject incorporating rhyme. Even if you are reticent to use rhyme, humor me and try it. And have a good time!


–  write your poem on your blog and be sure to link it back here to dVerse.
– Use Mr. Linky below to link your poem for others to read.
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– Have Fun!