To Rhyme is Not a Crime

Some people think I do nothing but argue politics on Facebook all day every day and that’s not entirely true.  There is some truth to it, of course, I spend way more time arguing politics on Facebook than I should, more than is productive or healthy, and probably more than my actual knowledge of the subject warrants, but that is true of most people, on all sides.  But, it’s not entirely true.
Sometimes I argue about poetry on Facebook.  One of the most common arguments is rhyming poetry vs. non-rhyming poetry.  As anybody who knows my poetry knows, I am a huge advocate of rhyming poetry.  I’ve probably blogged about this before (I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before), but here are a few of my reasons:

  1.  When I’ve written a rhyming poems, I know it’s a poem.  It fits at least one classical definition.  Of course, once you start accepting free verse, then almost anything can count as a poem, and I see that as a big problem.  Not that all of it is bad, but most of it is.  It’s like people are talking, and giving their opinion, and then they add some line breaks and a bit of unnecessarily flowery language, and voila! It’s a poem because they say it is.  IMO, that’s bullshit.
  2. Because I can.
  3. Because so few other people are doing it, it makes me unique.  Well, it’s one of the things that make me unique.  The other is just not plagiarizing.  Everybody who can abstain from that is unique.  So, being unique is not necessarily being great.  But, it’s better than not being unique.
  4. I keep hoping that people will turn my poems into songs.  It’s happened a few times.  Never with great success, but it’s not likely to happen at all if they don’t rhyme.
  5. Rhyme is mnemonic.  I do want people to remember my poems.
  6. By writing to specific rules, i.e. rhyme and meter, it actually makes  things easier.  Strange but true.  You stop worrying about, for instance, which is a more powerful word, Fall or Autumn, and you just use the one that rhymes (usually it’s Fall)
  7. The path to enlightenment through the random juxtaposition of words.  It’s a bit like alchemy.  They had no clue about how to turn lead into gold, so they just tried every damned thing under the sun.  You put all the rhyming words in there, invent sentences that end with those words, and before you know it, you’ve expressed a thought that you hadn’t even thought of yourself.  Which is kind of an amazing feeling.  You become a conduit for truth to enter the universe.  Admittedly, that doesn’t happen every day, but I like it when it does.
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