368. Rhyme

Have you ever wondered why none of my articles rhyme? I know how to rhyme; if I wanted to rhyme them I could. But rhyming plays games with the mind; I’m afraid if I did, you’d think I was fooling around, and that wouldn’t be good. I want you to read what I write and then give it some thought. I think that I’m bringing up pretty significant stuff. I think, then I write, then I hope that I’ll have some effect. I hope that these articles don’t strike my readers as fluff.
By now, you may notice that this time, I’m making it rhyme. I’m checking the meter, and doing what I need to do to make sure the pattern continues. It’s taking more work. I hope that my rhyming does not hide my meaning from you. I write lots of songs, and there’s plenty of rhyme in my songs. Sometimes I write poems, and my poetry tends to rhyme, too. In college, the poems that my friends wrote were mostly blank verse. But how could I do that when I had a last name like Blue?
I found it a challenge to motivate kids to write poems. I’m really impressed when good poetry comes from a kid. Most children I knew thought that poetry all had to rhyme. Of course, I could tell them, “It doesn’t,” and that’s what I did. But I never really believed in that message myself. The poems that I most liked to read had predictable rhyme. And so, as a teacher, I didn’t teach kids to write verse. And kids in my class stayed away from it most of the time.
In retrospect, I still don’t think I’d do poetry much. I did some haiku with my classes. I read them some verse. The brief bits of poetry done in my class were all right. I’ve seen other teachers do more, but I could have done worse. I’ve been writing poetry ever since I was child. You’d think, having done it so much, I could teach it. Not so. Some teachers, like me, cannot teach everything they can do. Too bad, but we cannot impart all the knowledge we know.
When children begin to write poetry, some start with rhyme. Some don’t seem to think that a poem can express something real, like how their perceptions are well worth expressing in words. Or what special thoughts they are thinking, or what things they feel. The search for a rhyme can distract a young poet from that; the mind of a child may be filled with ideas most profound, but sometimes, instead of attempting to write down those thoughts, a young poet seems to keep wondering, how does it sound?
Most teachers I know and have known don’t do poetry much. There’s plenty of other creative things teachers can do. Some art, and some music, some drama, some movement, some talk. But still, I think somehow there ought to be poetry, too. And though I’ve spent more than an hour just making this rhyme, I hope you’re aware that this article isn’t a poem. In fact, just to emphasize that point, I’m not going to keep the meter going in this last line, although I can’t resist squeezing in the rhyming word “metronome.”

Comments are closed.