“The coolness of the night
Refreshes my skin.
The stars shine so bright,
Causing me to grin.”
This is an example of rhyme used simply for the sake of rhyme. It is almost painful to read because you know exactly what’s coming. It’s forced rhyme – it’s rhyme that leaves you with something less than poetry. Rhyme has its place in poetry. But itshould never dominate the poem or detract from the meaning of the poem. Poetry when it is at it’s best makes you feel the meaning of the poem, understand it, not only on an intellectual basis but, on an emotional level, as well.
If we translate the lines above into poetry, it might read like this…
The coolness of the night
Like icy fingers trace
shivers on my skin as stars
as bright as moonlit meadows
fill up my heart like the light
of a child’s impetuous grin
Poetry understands how to engage us through the senses. It makes us “feel” the poem on some visceral level, where we can become part of the experience. I have felt the icy fingers of a cold breeze on my skin and, I have seen moonlight so bright it has filled up my heart and, I have seen the unrestrained grin on the face of a child – and it has touched me, emotionally. I suspect most people have had these experiences and so now, reading this little poem, will be able to relate to it.
So please, try to restrain yourself when writing poetry and lean into the meaning of the words, the intention of the words, the emotions of the words and create, with your words, images that we, the reader, can relate to. If the rhyme happens, naturally, wonderful! If not, keep writing and let the words flow through the magic and beauty of imagery. Poetry, at its very best, leaves us saying to ourselves, “Yes, yes, I know that I feel that I’ve been there, I understand.”
A poem should never leave us mumbling to ourselves, “night/bright – skin/grin.”
I invite you to write on – leaving rhyme to find its own way into the poem…