Step 4: Rhyming Couplet and Quatrain

A rhyming couplet is a set of lines, back to back, that rhyme. Usually they have the same meter so that they appear as a coherent whole.

Example: Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is written in rhyming couplets. (Beware, though: it is in Middle English).

From the prologue:
Singing he was, or fluting all the day;
He was as fresh as is the month of May.

This couplet is in iambic pentameter.

A rhyming quatrain is a set of four lines that follow a rhyme scheme. The rhyme schemes could be:
AABB--(the first and second lines rhyme with each other and the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other. In other words, a pair of rhyming couplets together)
ABAB--(the first and third lines rhyme with each other and the second and fourth lines rhyme with each other)
ABBA--(the first and fourth lines rhyme with each other and the second and third rhyme with each other)
ABCB--(the second and fourth rhyme with each other).

Again, quatrains usually have a given meter so that they sound like they flow together.

Some examples: The Hippopotamus by Ogden Nash (my favorite poet of all time)

Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.

Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

Note the AABB rhyme scheme.

Here's Look Back on Time with Kindly Eyes
by Emily Dickinson

Look back on time with kindly eyes,
He doubtless did his best;
How softly sinks his trembling sun
In human nature's west!

This is an ABCB rhyme scheme.

The couplet and the quatrain can be used as building blocks for your poems, as we will see next.
<p>images and images in this space</p><p>i imagine what i feel and want to say</p><p>i feel that i want to convey</p><p>what i imagine i feel</p><p>what i feel and want to say and write</p><p>i express what to me is real</p>
<p>am trying this. my first poem, comment on it</p><p>life is so simple yet complex</p><p>with such chances yet unknown, you gave me.</p><p>always expecting everything yet nothing</p><p>being perfect and good, just a wish </p><p>with much strength and joy, hope lies in expectation</p><p>life is being you</p><p>thank you - be you</p><p>love is selfless in action</p>
<p>There is a poetry contest that I plan on joining. I need help on a topic though. Last year I did &quot;Friendship Is Magical.&quot;</p>
<p>ethics </p>
I am idocolerve <br>I converge, I lure, I achieve, to soar in what?<br>To be someone I would look up to and excel . <br>Emerge as a one of a kind idosyncratic. <br>The more challenges blown on to me the more I can wash away. Come at me, I'm not frighten. Let me show you what your wrongs convert me to be idosyncratic. I converge, I lure , I achieve, to be me the hardest challenge to be thrown on this sphere.
<p>I don't know if this poem I wrote is good. could you tell me?</p><p>If I could make a wish it would be for people to not see me cry</p><p>I know that's stupid but....</p><p>I don't want people to worry about me</p><p>I don't want people to cry with me </p><p>I don't want people to think its there fault</p><p>I don't want them to see my tears</p><p>I cry because think I'm.. </p><p>useless</p><p>stupid</p><p>ugly </p><p>weird</p><p>but then I see everyone...</p><p>Who loves me</p><p>Who believes in me </p><p>who think i'm smart</p><p>who understand me</p><p>these are the people who help me keep going</p>
<p>your poem is actually not even that bad </p>
<p>From my experience your writing is well thought out..the only thing i can see is a small spelling error. the idea is good..THERE should be Their ..something small so don't sweat it. </p>
<p><u>It is always good to make decisions</u></p><p><u>by Giselle Marks</u></p><p>It is always good to make<br>decisions</p><p>Right or wrong, a work is best begun.</p><p>Surgeons<br>must make their first incisions.</p><p>If<br>you truly want to achieve your visions,</p><p>Ideas<br>are nothing until something is done.</p><p>It<br>is always good to make decisions.</p><p>Procrastination<br>makes sad divisions.</p><p>The<br>first step eats up those miles run.</p><p>Surgeons<br>must make their first incisions.</p><p>Blood must flow, we<br>make revisions.</p><p>Any action is preferable<br>than none.</p><p>It is always good to make decisions.</p><p>Life is just a<br>series of collisions,</p><p>Don&rsquo;t put those<br>bullets in a gun.</p><p>Surgeons must make their first incisions.</p><p>Switch off all of<br>your televisions,</p><p>Live life to the<br>full, don&rsquo;t let it rerun</p><p>It is always good to make decisions.</p><p>Surgeons must make their first incisions.</p>
<p>and just a btw the title kinda mixes with everything else</p><p>The poem starts at </p><p>You pick up a pencil.</p><p>And the title is What to write.</p>
<p>For the end I decided to do this:</p><p>You draw because in drawing </p><p>You can do great things.</p>
<p>This is my first poem! Please tell me if it is good! Or even if it is bad!</p><p>What to write?</p><p>You pick up a pencil,</p><p>You stare at a blank page,</p><p>What shall you write?</p><p>Your pencil starts to move,</p><p>In various ways.</p><p>You draw.</p><p>You draw, because in drawing you can do what your imagination says</p><p>But in poetry, you can master great things.</p>
<p>As I lay beneath the night sky</p><p>Gathering thoughts of all your lies </p><p>I feel my heart turn black with hate</p><p>As the stars shine so bright </p><p>I will have no sympathy </p><p>You won&rsquo;t find no sympathy here&hellip;</p><p>I once envied you </p><p>Now I want to destroy you.</p>
<p>I'm not sure how i feel about this one, its been years since ive written poetry. But i needed to get somethings out. Tell me your thoughts on it please. </p><p>In the beginning</p><p>I was engulfed</p><p>In love, passion, desire</p><p>I could feel you</p><p>Your soul vibrated with mine</p><p>Your happiness was mine</p><p>But you changed </p><p>Bitter</p><p>Awful</p><p>Violent...</p><p>You yelled, screamed</p><p>You brainwashed</p><p>You commanded, i obeyed</p><p>I was a puppet</p><p>A shadow of what once was</p><p>Empty</p><p>Alone</p><p>Confused</p><p>I stayed</p><p>You're all i know</p><p>Brainwashed</p><p>You pushed, I ran </p><p>I never came back</p><p>I'm free, from you</p><p>But not from myself</p><p>I'm trapped</p><p>Brainwashed</p><p>You broke me</p><p>I don't know how to start again</p><p>You still control, without a word</p><p>I still follow old commands, even though you're gone</p><p>Brainwashed</p><p>Never the same...</p><p>But i'll never give up</p><p>You made me weak</p><p>But i can be strong</p><p>I am strong even if i am </p><p>Brainwashed </p><p>~SCH</p>
<p>Partially placated and exactly intact while I writhe about without reservation. These unfettered dimensions catch my attention, but largely go unnoticed by the typical consumer &mdash; silent and sipping coffee to wash the day&hellip;away. And imbibing some right-wing &ndash; conservative rap, and its effervescent malaise and sublimity. But, the point is &mdash; I see them. And although I haven&rsquo;t netted any profit, I wouldn&rsquo;t trade them, nor set them aside. Not even momentarily. Not even. And some have said insanity is all I&rsquo;ve caught in my coffers &mdash; in the gnarled nets near my isolate place; and I&rsquo;ve also worried, opening my notebook, and revealing the unreal, while rats race on paper trails, and <em>still</em>&hellip;I see them. A society solely motivated by the brackish bindings, chains and taut tethers of the bourgeois American malediction of mediocrity. A mouthful for me, indeed, but I&rsquo;ll bear the burden with utilitarian aims of emancipating forty-hour slaves striving for ephemeral escape of any size, or flavour &mdash; though the more pungent varieties of release may mark, and scar and stain with ink indelible, scribing the lily-white fibers about our souls. And if only in the circumlocution of subconscious scribblings in the hours adjacent of dusk &mdash; I see them. Never fretting the invitation to delve deeper, and amend the words echoing in my head. Because even they oscillate, vibrate, and modulate the waves sequent to what&rsquo;s been said in their stead &ndash; to edify, calm, or curse the verses bursting forth from angel&rsquo;s lips, and the vile inversion of demons moving through the very avenues the spirits use to deliver their blindfolds, and boons. I see them. Transcendent agents of persuasion inveigle entire nations, adept in their design of divine and evil alignment. Devoured by darkness some seduce unto sin, but the beauty of heaven requires no such cajoling &mdash; and I see them.</p>
<p>my name is mike and i made this poem 1/11/15 at pm4:47 my heart is black like the night shy watching me waiting for me to find someone to fill my heart with love take the pain from me and show me that i can love again </p>
<p>can anyone help me how to write emotinal poetry ?</p>
This instructable<br>delights me, It is good.<br>Very detail'd and covers all, <br>The relevant poetic points. <br>
<p>A great article for anyone looking to write poetry I'd also recommend some of the videos here.<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC11Q4-Nq-QjUHcz_gnQJqmQ" rel="nofollow">https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC11Q4-Nq-QjUHcz_gnQJqmQ</a> to help with creativity in your poetry.</p>
<p>HeHe! This is so me!</p>
<p>when we parted I was good and you were dead,</p><p>now I'm as good as dead</p>
<p>I've got another one:</p><p>Here I lie,</p><p>With nothing <br>left.</p><p>There you <br>die,</p><p>Of life <br>bereft.</p>
This really helped thank!
Good article on writing poetry. There's so many kinds of poetry out there. You are right that poetry is a great way to express emotions, get ideas out there and entertain all at once. There's also a new social media site for poets to write and post their poetry on and to show it off to the world. it's <a href="http://www.Pondrin.com" rel="nofollow">www.Pondrin.com</a>
The explanation is really good. I see dedication in the author while he was writing this. I've been looking for this post eversince. This is perfect for my study. :)<br>by the way I've been studying <a href="http://www.haikupoemsandmore.info/" rel="nofollow">haiku</a> poems and I'm loving <a href="http://www.haikupoemsandmore.info/2011/12/haiku-poems.html" rel="nofollow">haiku poems examples</a> made by famous poets like basho.
my poem so far<br>My lips are the gun,<br>My smile, tha trigger,<br>My kisses are the bullets,<br>Label me a killer
Some time love go's that far, So go ahead and pull tha trigger, Put tho's bullets in my heart so you can keep it forever, SO i mite be a killer if it means being a lover so go on and LABEL ME A KILLER
I like that. I couldn't come up with something like it. It's good so far. :)
Great article Josh. here are also the best poems of <a href="http://www.best-poems.net/carl_sandburg/index.html">Carl Sandburg</a> , <a href="http://www.best-poems.net/ezra_pound/index.html">Ezra Pound</a> and <a href="http://www.best-poems.net/walt_whitman/index.html">Whitman</a>. Keep up the great work...
I've been writing poetry for quite some time now but I never stop on searching for more tips to improve my craft. And when I stumbled upon this thread, I can't just resist but to read it. Thanks. By the way this resource maybe of help <br><a href="http://www.poemslifelove.com/p/how-to-write-poem.html">How to Write Simple Poems</a>
My free verse: I am a butt and I smell like cheese.
My free verse: Run, or the monster will eat...
Hello! This picture is..........................................lovely!?
Yeah............... keep it up!
This is excellent. I had it in my head to do something similar, but found that it had already been done, and far beyond my capacity. Good job.
Hey, great overview of various kinds of poetry.<br/><br/>Whilst writing poetry can be simple, it can also be very complex, it really depends on how much of a challenge you're up for. Furthermore, it really depends on how much you expect from yourself. As ascii said, don't worry if what you think you've written is really bad... most of the time, other people will enjoy it. On top of that, getting feedback is the only way you're going to get better. :)<br/><br/>Also, if you're looking for inspiration or finding it hard, there are plenty of places on the net to get you started. I was involved at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.readwritepoem.org">http://www.readwritepoem.org</a> for a while, they have great weekly prompts, and have an emphasis on collaboration, which is a great way to get started if you're feeling shaky.<br/>
a bit of a techincal explanation on rhythm here: 'pentameter' refers to the fact that each line has five (penta) metric feet. For example, iambic pentameter indicates that there are 5 iambs in the line. As each iamb has two syllables, every second syllable stressed, that makes 10 syllables per line. note also that there are other kinds of 'meter', such as tetrameter (4 feet).
That's a really good point about "not having to line everything up". In one of my poems, the only difference between 2 drafts was the fact that some lines had one or two spaces at the start of them. I think it's really effective when used well, especially if you're trying to assist some kind of rhythm or conduce your reader into reading it in a particular way.
good job man keep up the good work
This was very helpful for writing poetry! The only thing is can you add the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost? I was wondering what type of poem that is and I really want to write like that! Thx!
Nice post. I would add a couple of bits of advice for those who want to write poetry: the first is that it is very simple - most people don't do it and anything you write at all will impress people. I only write rhymed verse, because it is a bit more difficult but a lot more impressive. (Just my opinion.) A lot of people write four line verses, with the rhyme scheme AABB. If you change this to ABAB it usually sounds much better, and often little or no changes are needed other than swapping the lines. Don't force a rhyme - if you have to end a line with something like "We did eat" then you need to rewrite it, because it sounds clunky. Similarly given a few minutes thought you can generally swap words out and fix lines with too many or too few syllables. If this doesn't work, put it aside for half an hour and try again. While a specific time and quiet surrounding are nice, I write at work in an engineering office, in rapid email exchanges against a group of people who are probably a lot better than I. The best poems are published in the company newsletter, not because they are good but because I am the editor. Remember, don't worry if it's perfect, just keep at it.
Funny, cause i just did a report on John Keats, a famous poet.
Excellent. Great examples
I'm very sleepy I ate way too much turkey My pants, oh so tight!
Good job..this is one of my favorites from a shirt on threadless: Haikus are easy But sometimes they don't make sense Refrigerator.
hahaha :P
I once thumbtacked myself to the wall of my refridgerator
dude i love threadless!! i want to get some of the shirts that are on there monkey
very nice 'ible thoughtful, linked, and thorough. I henceforth write some.

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