Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday is the New Monday (For Poetry Stretching)

It's been nearly two years since we visited climbing rhymes, so I think it's time to try again.

Climbing Rhyme is a form of Burmese poetry containing a repeated sequence of 3 internally-rhymed lines consisting of 4 syllables each. Since Burmese is monosyllabic, this works well, but in English this might be difficult. Instead of 4 syllable lines, let's try writing in lines of 4 words. (If you're feeling brave, go ahead and try four syllables!)

The rhyme scheme for climbing rhyme is internal. That means the position of the rhyming word changes. The rhyme appears in the 4th word of line one, 3rd word of line 2, and 2nd word of line 3. The pattern continues as a new rhyme appears in the 4th word of line 3, the 3rd word of line 4, and the 2nd word of line 5. This continues on, giving a stair-step feel to the poem, hence the name climbing rhyme.
For those of you who need to see this visually, here it is. Each x stands for a word. The letters stand for rhyming words. Just remember the 4-3-2 pattern.
x x x a
x x a x
x a x b
x x b x
x b x c
x x c x
x c x x
What kind of climbing rhyme will you write? Leave me a comment about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Tricky. Or, in other words:

    Take your sweet time
    With this rhyme. Watch
    It climb to B
    From A. See the
    Rhyme C, the verse
    Comes out worse or
    Well? Curse? Could be.

    I will keep trying.

  2. One Suggestion
    By Steven Withrow

    Before we go,
    let us slowly
    compose ourselves,
    like toy shelves kept
    by elves, or pins
    pointed in a
    cushion, like poems.

    Copyright 2010 by Steven Withrow. All rights reserved.

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  4. Ha, Harriet! Love that. I'm cursing a bit as I play with this poem.

    Steven, I love that image of pins in a cushion, sharp and precise as poems.

    My topic is cliched, but what can I say? It's October in Minnesota, and I can't tear my eyes away from the fall colors.

    October Music

    October leaves rattle, clatter.
    Oaks recklessly shatter afternoon.
    Winds tatter autumn’s rags,
    which—undaunted—brag, fly
    like flags of kings,
    drift on wings of
    summer swings and sighs.

    --Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

    10/12/2010 3:55 PM

  5. I just want to point out that I could NEVER have written this on a Monday. No way. Thank goodness you posted the prompt late :-)

    "Form makes my head
    Fill with dread. Yikes,"
    I said. It’s tough
    (And enough) when
    I bluff on through
    But I do. Whew.
    It’s true! I’m done!

  6. What a challenge! I loved reading all of these... Here's my attempt:

    Questions for a Shell

    Here comes the tide.
    Will you ride? Will
    you hide? Oh Shell -
    will you tell where
    you dwell? Engrave
    every wave? Who
    will save your songs?

    Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    (The Poem Farm)

  7. Okay, that was hard! I've got it now...

    Autumn Song

    The leaf is pinned,
    tacked and hindered
    by wind, its pace
    checked, then chased. Caught
    in graceful flight,
    attaining height,
    like a kite. Gone.

    --Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved

  8. Another attempt:

    In the Monkey House

    Are you an ape?
    Must you gape at
    The shape you see,
    Which is me? Don’t
    You see you’re rude?
    I am nude! Take
    Your brood and go.

  9. Up in the sky
    Great birds fly, there
    Up high. They know,
    Somehow go in
    The flow and call
    Of it all. With
    Each fall a “bye”
    Yet they fly in
    This why… No – “V”

    by liz korba

  10. You guys are all better than I will ever be. Not even attempting this one. The instructions alone make my head hurt.


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  12. Aha! Mine's a little off, and I've realized I copied the pattern incorrectly, then followed my typos faithfully! Here's a revision...

    Autumn Song

    The leaf is pinned,
    tacked and hindered
    by wind, its pace
    checked, then chased. Caught
    in graceful flight,
    seeking height, twist
    of kite. Now gone.

    --Kate, 2010, all rights reserved (again)