Archive for the ‘About Rhyming’ Category


April 15, 2012 14 comments

This poem is in response to The Mag’s prompt 113 which is the Chagall image above



Said the painter to the poet

“There’s something to be said

For all the palette colors

But you can’t go wrong with red”


Said the poet to the painter

“Your advice is very sage

I find it is the humble words

That better suit the page”


April 4, 2012 2 comments

If you have visited before…welcome back. If this is your first visit click on “MY TOP TEN” to get a representative sample of the blog. I hope you like what you see. Vb

P.S. :  If you are really feeling charitable, checkout “Versebender” in the Amazon Kindle Store

Blake’s Mistake

May 5, 2011 32 comments


With all respect to William Blake

I think he made a big mistake

With Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

He didn’t get the rhyming right

Although I strive and really try

I can’t rhyme symmetry with eye!

This week’s Big Tent Poetry prompt is to do a revision. That probably meant a revision of your own work, but I thought I might try something more ambitious. How about “fixing” a 217-year old classic?

I have always loved Blake’s The Tyger (see below), but have struggled with the rhyming in this couplet:

What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

And this one:

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry

These do not rhyme…no way, no how.  I have read several explanations for this poetic malpractice.  They fall into three categories:

  1. It rhymed just swell in the English vernacular circa 1794
  2. It is a slant, half, or eye rhyme considered acceptable among poets in that milieu
  3. It was done intentionally to add emphasis to those two lines

None of these explanations satisfied me.  So, powered by Google and armed with a six-pack, I decided to investigate this mystery.  The following theory is the product of my research:

Blake, responding to an online prompt and feeling pressure to add content to his blog, was at an impasse. He had a pretty good, but imperfect, piece…there were those nagging couplets.  Try as he might, he couldn’t work it out.  He knew that his fellow bloggers were polite, supportive and unlikely to criticize. Since the clock was ticking (and in 1794 he probably only had dial up) he decided to publish as is. There you have it.

I think 217 years is a long time to go without correcting this egregious error. I can’t believe someone hasn’t done so before. You may think that’s a bit pretentious, but I see it as a public service.  Here you go:


By William Blake (and Versebender)

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye eye or hand
Could frame thy fearful symmetry a majesty so grand?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye eye or hand
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry a majesty so grand?

Much better!

The Blogosphere Blues

March 9, 2011 13 comments

This poem is linked to One Stop Poetry’s One Shot Wednesday.

The poetic blogosphere

Is awash in angst and pain

And so much introspection

It’s a burden on the brain

You’ll be exposed to sorrow

And emotions that run strong

To love gone unrequited

And of lives that have gone wrong

To those who quest for happiness

For years on endless years

When, in truth, real happiness

Is right between their ears

So cheer up fellow poets

A smile can be your drug

Life is sweet, its all okay

You all just need a hug

War of Words

February 22, 2011 16 comments

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep the peace among the elements in a line.

My verb and object disagreed
It was a heated fight
I tried my best to mediate
But couldn’t make it right

The harshest struggles in a line
Are often intramural
The verb, you see, was singular
The object being plural

And so I sought an adjective
To help diffuse the fray
“I modify, not mollify”
Was all it had to say

This poem linked to Poets United.


February 20, 2011 2 comments

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light.

…Edna St. Vincent Millay

I really like this. It communicates beautifully with an economy of words. I have seen it criticized as “not scanning.” I don’t care. You?


February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s my take on the burning issue of our time… to rhyme or not to rhyme.


The literati’s basic primer:

Hate the rhyme and loathe the rhymer

To them there’s really nothing worse

Than metered, rhyming, structured verse

Doggerel is what they shout

The rhymer’s work is all about

A vulgar form that just brings joy

To simple, unwashed hoi polloi

But gladly we endure their scorn

Their condescension lightly borne

Let them mock and scoff and shun

To hell with art, we’re having fun!


From “The Rhymer’s Cafe” available at