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Rhyme Time Let's Do Verse Terse

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Can two rhyming words be a poem? The object of poetry is to share an emotion or a picture through words. Do you see a distant star when you read the words ''Far Star''? ''Far Star'' is an example of a terse verse. Terse means without excess words, and verse means poetry.

Here are two four-word examples:

Were you able to imagine a skier wrapped around a tree? Did you hear a small child cry over a ruined chocolate bar? If you did, then these examples of terse verse are successful.

Writing terse verse can be a challenge -- and like any challenge, half the fun is in the doing; the other half is in the result.

There are no rules to follow, other than to use rhymes and as few words as you can.

Poets often start with an image they want to put into words. But in writing terse verse, you'll probably start with a pair of words that rhyme. For instance:

Perhaps you know this cat -- one with a belly that nearly scrapes the floor. Try expanding your terse verse from two to four words. Think about the chubby feline; why is she fat? Too much food? Not enough exercise?

You've just given your cat a reason for her size -- she's too lazy to exercise. And you've given her a name -- Daisy.

Or you can approach her chubbiness from the food angle. What do cats eat? Fish. What rhymes with fish? Dish. Try it this way:

There's an extra word, but the poem works. Remember, it is your poem, and you can do what you like. If you don't like the extra word, try something else.

What do cats like to drink? Milk. Can you find a rhyme for milk? Does it make sense? If so, use it; if not, go on to something else. How about cream?

Does it work for you? If not, feel free to change it. Perhaps your imaginary fat cat is the comic character Garfield. He loves to eat lasagna! What can you do with that bit of information?

When writing your terse verse, explore pattern. Fat/ Cat /Cream/ Extreme has an AABB rhyme pattern; that is, the first and second words rhyme, and the third and fourth are a different rhyme. Ski/ Faster /Tree.../-Disaster! has an ABAB pattern.

Try making the verse longer. Can you write a six-word verse? This one has an AABBCC pattern:

Use the same words and change the pattern to ABABCC:

Help in finding rhymes is available in a rhyming dictionary. (Public libraries often have copies for borrowing.) Rhyming dictionaries give you lists of words to choose from -- lists to stimulate your imagination.

I think two little rhyming words can be a poem. What do you think?


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