How to ‘Rhythmize’ and Rhyme Your Poems

By Gloson On November 13, 2008 Under Uncategorized
  • Sumo

As promised, here is an article about how to ‘rhythmize’ and thyme your poems, meaning how to give your poems a good rhythm and thyme. But why? So that it is fun to read.

If you want to know how to write funny poetry, click here.

Now, let me quote from my previous post, ‘Realized About Rhythms’:

It is a few weeks ago before I realized that my poems had not good rhythms. So, I edited them. And now, they are better.

Please read this poem aloud.

The Monster

One sunny day, I escaped from school.
I met a monster which was starting to drool.
It looked at me and licked its lips
and used its hands to grab my hips.

It stared at me and rubbed its tummy.
It licked its lips; then it said, “Yummy!”
I stared at it and perspired in fear
as the monster smiled and shook its rear.

It tossed me high up to the air;
I thought I was having a nightmare.
I screamed a scream and blinked a blink
as I fell into its mouth which really stink.

The monster tasted me and said, “Yucky!”
It spat me out; I was quite lucky.
I flew out of the monster’s mouth
like a cannonball; I was heading south.

I thought it would be my last,
but I landed at the entrance of my class.
And because I escaped from my school,
my teacher whacked me like a fool.

Haha…Now read this poem aloud

The Monster

One day, when I escaped from class,
I met a monster that was crass.
It looked at me and licked its lips
and used its hands to grab my hips.

It stared at me and rubbed its tummy.
It licked its lips; then it said, “Yummy!”
I stared at it and gasped in fear.
The monster smiled and shook its rear.

It tossed me high up to the air;
It was like having a nightmare.
I was afraid, that’s why I yelled
while falling in its mouth which smelled.

It tasted me and then said, “Yucky!”
It spat me out; I was quite lucky.
I flew out of the monster’s mouth,
like a cannonball, heading south.

I thought that it would be my last,
but I fell at the door of class.
Because I escaped from my school,
my teacher whacked me like a fool.

Well, doesn’t it sound better than the last one?
That is because I ‘rhythmized‘ it, making it nicer to read than the last version of the poem.

Last time, I didn’t know about that because I thought that my poems already had a rhythm. I tend to read some verses faster and some slower, making me think that they were okay.

And now, I am going to teach you how to make poems sound like that.

Let me show you a part of My Crazy Car, one of my couplets.

When I turn on my car, it goes insane,
It will hop around as if it has no brain.
It will shake tremendously and wiggle,
Making all my neighbors giggle.

Okay, that was the very first version of the poem.
See? The rhythm is out of shape. It is not as nice to read.
I eventually realized about rhythms and edited ‘My Crazy Car’.

My crazy car is sure insane.
It hops around to make me pain.
When I am on it, it will wiggle
to make my friends and neighbors giggle.

That was the latest version of ‘My Crazy Car’.
See? It is rhythmic and nice to be read aloud. Read it yourself :) .

‘Rhythmization’ and Rhyming

Now, I will tell you how to rhythmize a rhyming poem.

You must make sure each line has the same rhythm of the same number of syllables.

Like this:

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM (My crazy car is sure insane.)
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM (It hops around to make me pain.)

and this:

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da (When I am on it, it will wiggle)
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da (to make my friends and neighbors giggle.)

Not like:

da DUM da DUM da DUM da (My crazy car is insane.)
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM (It hops around to make me pain.)

Words that ends with a ‘DUM da’, like these,

  • giggle (DUM da)
  • wiggle
  • bigger
  • trigger
  • looking
  • cooking
  • tissue
  • issue
  • pencil
  • stencil
  • eleven
  • seven
  • gatekeeper (da DUM da)
  • reaper

can only rhyme with other words that ends with ‘DUM da’, as shown above.
(Words that end with ‘DUM da’ usually is the word itself, or with a suffix.)

Note: Cooking can’t rhyme with sing because the rhythm of cooking is ‘DUM da’ and the rhythm of sing is ‘DUM’.

Most of the words that have a prefix, like

  • enclose (da DUM)
  • insane (da DUM)
  • enrolling (da DUM da)
  • revival (da DUM da)
  • remake (da DUM)
  • restore (da DUM)
  • discover (da DUM da)

starts with a ‘da’, not ‘DUM’.

The rhymes are therefore,

  • enclose – toes
  • insane – brain
  • enrolling – bowling
  • revival – rival
  • remake – shake
  • restore – more
  • discover – hover

Compound words also start with a ‘da DUM’

Lets see what happens if a poem isn’t written following the rhythm and rhyme rules.

Jankie Wankie and the Thieves

The foolish Jankie Wankie Shank (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)
doesn’t put his cash in the bank. (DUM da da DUM da DUM da DUM)
The thieves smiled and started to sing. (da DUM da DUM DUM da da DUM)
At night, they then began creeping. (da DUM da DUM da DUM DUM da)

They then crept into Jankie house (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)
as quiet as a little mouse. (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)
The thieves crept under Jankie’s bed (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)
and found gold! Jankie would be mad! (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)

The Mistakes

doesn’t – It is the first word of a verse and its rhythm is ‘DUM da’. It should be ‘da DUM’. To solve this, change ‘doesn’t’ into ‘does not (da DUM)’.

started – It’s rhythm, which is ‘DUM da’ is used wrongly. It should be ‘da DUM’. To solve this, simply replace ‘started’ with ‘began (da DUM)’.

creeping – Its rhythm is ‘DUM da’, but the word that it is supposed to rhyme with is ‘sing’, which rhythm is ‘DUM’.

mad – Come on, ‘mad’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘bed’! ‘Mad’ rhymes with ‘bad’ and ‘sad’. ‘Bed’ rhymes with ‘red’, ‘wed’, and ‘shed’.

Syllables

If you’re writing a couplet, such as my poem, ‘The Monster’, you are suggested to use 8 syllables per line.

One day, when I escaped from class, (8 syllables) (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)
I met a monster that was crass. (8 syllables)
It looked at me and licked its lips (8 syllables)
and used its hands to grab my hips.
(8 syllables)

You can also use 11 syllables per line, and a different rhythm, like my poem, ‘Benjamin was Not So Smart’.

Young Benjamin was not as smart as supposed. (11 syllables)(da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)
He chattered too much, and sometimes, he did boast. (11 syllables)
”Bananas eat monkeys,” young Benjamin said, (11 syllables)
”A foul-smelling lady lives under your bed.” (11 syllables)

If there was a word at the end of a line that ends with ‘DUM da’, you can increase the syllables.

My crazy car is sure insane. (8 syllables) (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM)
It hops around to make me pain. (8 syllables)
When I am on it, it will wiggle (9 syllables) (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da)
to make my friends and neighbors giggle.
(9 syllables)

If you are writing a 4 simple-line poem, you are suggested to use this format:

a lot of smelly empty cans, (8 syllables)
some dust, a plastic bag, (6 syllables) (8 + 6 syllables = 14 syllables.)
my brother’s drawings, paperclips, (8 syllables)
torn books, a ragged flag. (6 syllables) (8 + 6 syllables = 14 syllables.)

That’s just way too much garbage! (7 syllables)
How do I clean under here? (7 syllables) (7 + 7 syllables = 14 syllables.)
But never mind, because my brother (9 syllables)
takes my place next year! (5 syllables) (9 + 5 syllables = 14 syllables.)

(from my poem, ‘My Messy School Desk’)

See? The first and the third line doesn’t need to rhyme, but the second and the fourth line rhymes.

You can use less or more syllables on the first pair of lines, or the second pair of lines, because of some reasons, but each pair should have 14 syllables.

That’s the end of the lesson. If I have something to add, I’ll update this post.

Any questions? Comment it!

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1 Trackback

  1. Gloson Blog » Blog Archive » How to Write Funny Poetry
    November 13, 2008 9:39 PM


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Holly Jahangiri
    (14 comments)

    November 13, 2008
    9:26 pm

    It’s not a hard and fast rule, Gloson. But this is very good – you sure you’re only 10?? Now that you have mastered the iamb, try the trochee, the dactyl, and the anapest. :)

  2. scartoonist
    (3 comments)

    December 17, 2008
    2:35 pm

    Hi,

    I wanted to check out some of your poetry.

    I have written two books of poetry. Much of it is funny. One is for a younger audience and the other also contains short stories.

    Your tutorial is very sound.

    I read your account of trying to meet someone to learn Photoshop. If you already have it, you will find a lot of online tutorials. Understanding layers is very important at the beginning — this is how the software arranges images in stacks so that they collectively make a total image but allow individual images to be edited. Look for help at SmashingMagazine.com. Or ask me.

    If graphic design is in your future, learning Illustrator is worthwhile. Many people know some Photoshop but Illustrator defeats them and expert users are much more rare. Yet, you can do amazing things with it. Our comics are drawn in it. But that’s in your future.

    Best,
    Bengo

  3. How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
    (1 comments)

    March 27, 2011
    11:11 am

    Hey Gloson, Great post. You’ve clearly done your home work! I was having a little chuckle during that monster poem… and yes, the second one is way better! Cheers

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