“Rhyming scheme is the pattern of rhymes at the end of each line of a poem or song. It is usually referred to by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme; lines designated with the same letter all rhyme with each other.”
“The rhyme patterns that are used have various , and can be used to:
- Control flow: If every line has the same rhyme (AAAA), the stanza will read as having a very quick flow, whereas a rhyme scheme like ABCABC can be felt to unfold more slowly.
- Structure a poems message and thought patterns: For example, a simple couplet with a rhyme scheme of AABB lends itself to simpler direct ideas, because the resolution comes in the very next line. Essentially these couplets can be thought of as self-contained statements. This idea of rhyme schemes reflecting thought processes is often discussed particularly regarding sonnets.
- Determine whether a stanza is balanced or unbalanced
- Help to reinforce the feeling being expressed: If the writer wants to express stubbornness, they may use tight structured rhyme schemes, whereas if one was writing about feeling lost, then perhaps the stanza would only have one rhyme (XXAXXXA).
A basic distinction is between rhyme schemes that apply to a single stanza, and those that continue their pattern throughout an entire poem (see chain rhyme). There are also more elaborate related forms, like the sestina – which requires repetition of exact words in a complex pattern. Rhyming is not a mandatory feature of poetry; a four line stanza with non-rhyming lines could be described as using the scheme ABCD.”
“Notation used below:
- ABAB – Four-line stanza, first and third lines rhyme at the end, second and fourth lines rhyme at the end.
- AB AB – Two two-line stanzas, with the first lines rhyming at the end and the second lines rhyming at the end.
- AB,AB – Single two-line stanza, with the two lines having both a single internal rhyme and a conventional rhyme at the end.
- aBaB – Two different possible meanings for a four-line stanza:
- A1abA2 A1abA2 – Two stanzas, where the first lines of both stanzas are exactly the same, and the last lines of both stanzas are the same. The second lines of the two stanzas are different, but rhyme at the end with the first and last lines. (In other words, all the “A” and “a” lines rhyme with each other, but not with the “b” lines.)”
Notable rhyme schemes:
- Traditional rhyme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH…
- Ballade: Three stanzas of ABABBCBC followed by BCBC
- Boy Named Sue: AABCC(B, or infrequently D)
- Chant royal: Five stanzas of ababccddedE followed by either ddedE or ccddedE (capital letters represent lines repeated verbatim)
- Sestuplo-Nel-Quintetto: Any quantity of stanzas of AA,BCCB, occasionally followed by either a repeating pattern of BCCB, or AA, plainly.
- Cinquain: ABABB
- Clerihew: AABB
- Couplet: AA, but usually occurs as AA BB CC DD …
- Enclosed rhyme (or enclosing rhyme): ABBA
- Canopus: ABABCBC
- “Fire and Ice” stanza: ABAABCBCB as used in Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice“
- Keatsian Ode: ABABCDECDE used in Keats’ Ode on Indolence, Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Ode to a Nightingale.
- Limerick: AABBA
- Monorhyme: AAAAA… an identical rhyme on every line, common in Latin and Arabic
- Onegin stanzas: aBaBccDDeFFeGG with the lowercase letters representing feminine rhymes and the uppercase representing masculine rhymes, written in iambic tetrameter
- Ottava rima: ABABABCC
- A quatrain is any four-line stanza or poem. There are 15 possible rhyme sequences for a four-line poem; common rhyme schemes for these include AAAA, AABB, ABAB, ABBA, and ABCB.
- “The Raven” stanza: ABCBBB, or AA,B,CC,CB,B,B when accounting for internal rhyme, as used by Edgar Allan Poe in his poem “The Raven”
- Rhyme royal: ABABBCC
- The Road Not Taken stanza: ABAAB as used in Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, and in Glæde over Danmark by Poul Martin Møller).
- Rondeau: ABaAabAB (capital letters represent lines repeated verbatim)
- Rondelet: AbAabbA (capital letters represent lines repeated verbatim)
- Rubaiyat: AABA
- Scottish stanza: AAABAB, as used by Robert Burns in works such as “To a Mouse“
- Sestina: ABCDEF FAEBDC CFDABE ECBFAD DEACFB BDFECA, the seventh stanza is a tercet where line 1 has A in it but ends with D, line 2 has B in it but ends with E, line 3 has C in it but ends with F
- Simple 4-line: ABCB
- Sonnet, 14 lines:
- Spenserian stanza: ABABBCBCC, where the last line is an alexandrine line
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening form: AABA BBCB CCDC DDDD, a modified Ruba’i stanza used by Robert Frost for the eponymous poem
- Tanaga: traditional Tagalog tanaga is AABB
- A tristich or tercet is any three-line stanza or poem; common rhyme schemes for these are AAA (triplet) and ABA (enclosed tercet). The only other possibilities for three-line poems are AAB, ABB, and ABC. Multiple tercets can be combined into longer poems, as in the terza rima form.
- Triplet: AAA, often repeating such as: AAA BBB CCC DDD…
- Terza rima: ABA BCB CDC …, ending on YZY Z; YZY ZZ; or YZY ZYZ
- Villanelle: A1bA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1A2, where A1 and A2 are lines repeated exactly which rhyme with the “a” lines”
We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship,
although it meant the end of travel.
Although it stood stock-still like cloudy rock
and all the sea were moving marble.
We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship;
we’d rather own this breathing plain of snow
though the ship’s sails were laid upon the sea
as the snow lies undissolved upon the water.
O solemn, floating field,
are you aware an iceberg takes repose
with you, and when it wakes may pasture on your snows?
This is a scene a sailor’d give his eyes for.
The ship’s ignored. The iceberg rises
and sinks again; its glassy pinnacles
correct elliptics in the sky.
This is a scene where he who treads the boards
is artlessly rhetorical. The curtain
is light enough to rise on finest ropes
that airy twists of snow provide.
The wits of these white peaks
spar with the sun. Its weight the iceberg dares
upon a shifting stage and stands and stares.
The iceberg cuts its facets from within.
Like jewelry from a grave
it saves itself perpetually and adorns
only itself, perhaps the snows
which so surprise us lying on the sea.
Good-bye, we say, good-bye, the ship steers off
where waves give in to one another’s waves
and clouds run in a warmer sky.
Icebergs behoove the soul
(both being self-made from elements least visible)
to see them so: fleshed, fair, erected indivisible.
What poems are you reading/writing this week?