Rhyme is a pattern of words that contain similar sounds.


Rhythm: The dictionary tells us it is "a movement with uniform recurrence of a beat or accent." In its crudest form rhythm has a beat with little or no meaning. Children use them in games and counting-out rhymes. In poetry, rhythm, broadly speaking, is a recognizable pulse, or "recurrence," which gives a distinct beat to a line and also gives it a shape.

Rhyme is not only a recurrence but a matching of sounds. The pleasure of pairing words to make a kind of musical echo is as old as mankind. The child of this generation may be millions of years away from prehistoric man, but the lullabies and dancing games of today are not much different from those of the cave-dweller. As in the old days, there is a real connection between poetry and magic, between poetry and memory. Children begin with rhyme and rhythm; even before they can talk, boys and girls echo nursery rhymes and the jingles of Mother Goose. They learn their numbers painlessly by repeating such rhymes as:

But it is not only children who find things easier when they are said in rhyme and rhythm. Farmers and housewives prefer verse to prose for their wise sayings; the music of a rhyme helps them to remember. It points up their proverbs and gives a quick turn to the meaning:

A sunshiny shower
Won't last an hour.

Rain before seven;
Clear by eleven.

March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers.

Won't wash dishes.

Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

The devices of poetry are always being used - and abused in daily life. Not only children and farmers but businessmen understand the value of verse and "apt alliteration's artful aid." Roadside signs, cards in buses, advertisements in newspapers, commercials on radio and television, prove that an idea fastens itself quickly in the mind when it is rhymed. Christmas cards, birthday wishes, condolences, and greetings are most effective when they are in verse. The fourteenth of February brings out the poet in everyone.

Even on the lowest plane, poetry is rarely "rhyme without reason." It sharpens the wit's cleverness and heightens the lover's dearest sentiments. Poetry ranges all the way from the childish " Roses are red, violets are blue" to Robert Burns's immortal song "My love is like a red, red rose." When we are deeply aroused, we express ourselves in some sort of poetry; our emotions spill over into a football cheer, a ballad, or a love lyric. A poem expresses our inner excitement, eases our pain, and glorifies our joy. Because of its strongly accented beat ana its ability to convey intense feeling, poetry is the most powerful form of speech.

Rhyme has been called a kind of musical punctuation. It is not only an aid to memory, as we have discovered in proverbs and nursery rhymes, but it is also a pleasure to the ear. Poetry should not only be read, it should be read aloud. To see it on the printed page is not enough; poetry should be heard as well as seen. "The Ballad of Father Gilligan" by William Butler Yeats and "Gunga Din" by Rudyard Kipling are both narrative. Totally different in theme, they have one thing in common: a simple but superb use of rhyme. The strong accent of the rhyming captivates the reader and lifts the story above its prose statement into poetry.

Rhyme is the matching of vowels and the coupling of vowel sounds. Like rhythm, it is a kind of recurrence - but rhyme has a recurrence of sound as well as beat. The following jingle has rhythm:

The rhythm of these lines becomes more musical - and much easier to remember -when rhyme is added. We then get the recurring vowel sound of:

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