Quite a while back, I started talking about sonnets, a special kind of poem much favored by William Shakespeare. Since we’re approaching Valentine’s Day, and some of the greatest love poems of all time were sonnets, I thought that I’d continue in this vein.
Previously, in order to lay the ground work, I talked about syllables (9/13/11), and accents (10/5/11) and iambic pentameter (10/19/11) and laid some beginning groundwork on what a sonnet is (11/17/11).
But, on beyond all of this, to understand a sonnet, you need to understand something about rhyme schemes.
A rhyme scheme is a pattern for what line is supposed to rhyme with what line.
For instanceI have a cat. His name is Pat. He’s black and grey. He’s far away.
Has a different rhyme scheme thanI have a cat. He’s far away. His name is Pat. He’s black and grey.
Rhyme schemes are expressed using letters to indicate the rhyming lines. For instance, in the first bit of verse above, the rhyme scheme is aabb whereas, in the second one, our scheme is abab.
Sonnets are a very structured poetic form- a much like a puzzle as a poem. Not only do we have to have the right number of syllables, and the accents in the right places to make them work, we also need to fit the rhyme scheme to one of the established sonnet rhyme schemes.
A lot of work this. But lovely when you make it all come out right.
More on sonnets is on the way.
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