Lemons, apples, peas, and fish
Mix for quite a crazy dish.
Add some rhythm, add some rhyme
Veggies, fruit, and fins sublime.
Clap your hands and stomp your feet.
Try to get a patterned beat.
Spread the picnic on the floor.
Makes you want to shout for more.
Did you ever try writing a picture book in poetry form? For some it’s simple. For others, however, the rhyming comes easy, but having a consistent and unforced rhythm is a real challenge. I have chosen a very simple poem to illustrate a way to work on this. The opening stanza usually sets the stage for the remainder of the work so it is important to recognize what beat you have established. Check out the poem from above. (note: vocal emphasis is on capitalized syllables below)
LEmons, APPles, PEAS, and FISH
MIX for QUITE a CRAzy DISH.
Both lines tap out Strong, Weak, Strong, Weak, Strong, Weak, Strong
Although the next two lines continue the same pattern, what if the wording of the first of the two is rearranged;
ADD some RHYME, ADD some RHYthm
The beat becomes; S, W, S, S, W, S, W
Instead of ; S, W, S, W, S, W, S How that changes the nice flow and rhythm of the original line!
A good way to help yourself is to take a pencil and mark your strong and weak syllables as you read your work aloud, making sure that you read the words correctly. Sometimes there is a tendency to try to force words to fit such as honeyMOON for HONeymoon or
TRIPelet (3 syllables) for TRIPlet.
Before you consider your work finished, be sure to compare the beginning with the end. Have you maintained the original rhythm to the end or has it gradually changed without your realizing it.
Remember the old saying, “ the beat goes on”? That’s very true but when it’s your own poetry “masterpiece”, you want to be the one to control the beat!