Posts Tagged ‘near rhyme’

                  Near Rhyme

When rhyme is near (let us be clear),
   The distance is not meant.
For, “near” and “clear” are rhymes – not near,
   Though they share common fence. 

The near is “meant” and “fence” though far
   Apart – not in one line.
The reason that they’re near or half
   Is difference we find. 

In both my stanzas, my step-rhymes
   Match in the vowel sound.
But ending consonant is changed
   Like waves can change the sand. 

And now I’ve switched, my lines enriched
   To near rhyme’s other breed.
The consonants are much the same –
   New vowel is now the bride. 

So near rhymes (half rhymes) aren’t exact.
   They’re close to please the hearer.
But I don’t like to write or read them –
I want my rhymes much nearer.


My first two examples (lines 2 and 4 in stanzas 1 and 2) are near rhymes that are assonance.  The vowel sound is repeated but the consonants are not the same.  “Enough” with “love” is another example.  My second two examples (lines 2 and 4 in stanzas 3 and 4) are examples of near rhyme consonance.  The consonants correspond but the vowel sounds are different.  Other examples are “grope” with “cup” and “conquered” with “drunkard”.  Near rhyme is also called half rhyme, slant, or oblique rhyme.  (source: A Handbook To Literature by Harmon and Holman).

Examples in poems of near rhymes:

“I Fear A Silent Man” by Emily Dickinson
2nd and 4th lines in both stanzas

“To A Waterfowl” by William Cullen Bryant
4th stanza – 2nd and 4th lines

“To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell
Lines 7 and 8

“Spring” by Thomas Nashe
3rd stanza – line 2 with 1 and 3

“How Sweet I Roamed From Field To Field” by William Blake
1st stanza – lines 1 and 3

“Where Worth Lies Waiting” by Dennis Lange
Last stanza – lines 2 and 4

I gave one example above from Emily Dickinson but she used near rhyme more than any other poet I’ve read.  Check here on this blog under “Poems Of Other Poets” (C-D) and you’ll find a number of her poems with even more examples.


© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2014.


















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(photo by dyet via rgbstock.com)

Where Worth Lies Waiting

Nature gives us special charms
When we are young and foolish,
That we might find another’s arms
Before we’re old and ghoulish –

Ghoulish, that is, to youthful whims,
To amateurs of living,
Whose surface surfing misses gems
For when life’s unforgiving.

What lads and lasses do not know,
When they are young and foolish:
The outer’s only for a show,
And hides those who are mulish.

Viewed beauty’s but a bait, a lure,
To draw a person nearer,
Where he must find the one that’s pure
With closer look, and clearer.

For wake, some do, one fateful morn,
To find the scent was merely
A rose that blooms and leaves the thorn;
And they pay long and dearly.

True beauty is what’s hidden, deep,
Like one would bury treasure,
Beneath skin fair or plain, it sleeps,
Till one takes time to measure.

Dig deeper, child, like miners mine,
Like those whose hair is graying,
And search for traits both rare and fine
On heart, where worth lies waiting.


© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2012.

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