Rhyming, Lines, and Shapes for Poem Structure

By Britney Pieta

A big part of what makes poetry great is structure and the way it’s put and held together. You could have all the ingredients for a sandwich out but if you don’t put them together, then you can’t eat and enjoy your sandwich very well. Below I list some patterns with rhyming, lines, and stanza shape.

1.      Patterns with Rhyming

·         No rhyming at all. Sometimes the message is better expressed without rhymes.

An example: (by author)

We start our journey with nothing but ourselves,
With no attachments, no burdens, just the clothes on our backs,
As children we have baggage of stuffed animals and blankets.

Growing up, life seems to hand us more and more things to carry,
We carry a backpack for school and take on the task of learning,
Given grades that seem to tell us of our worth…

·         End with a word that rhymes with the previous line before it. Or you can switch up and have a rhyming word come every 2 or 3 lines.

An example: (by author)

I want to do more than just survive
I desire my life to be more than just fighting to stay alive
I’ve got to find a way to really open my eyes
And not only be just here for pleasures
But find a way to keep afloat in all of the soul’s adverse weather

·         Just have the last two lines rhyme as in a sonnet.

An example: (by author)

Smiling on the inside,
When I am near the ones I love,
Who walk the path with me

Smiling on the inside
Because my spirit is so alive.

2.      Patterns with Lines

·         Have a reoccurring or repeating statement that appears every so often—such as every 2 lines.

An example: (by author)

All of your wishes that have come true,
That you thought happened only once in a blue moon,
Save for a rainy day.

All of the bad things that have turned out for your good,
That you never thought ever really could,
Save for a rainy day…

Make some lines shorter or some longer to add emphasis

·         An example: (by author)

(This one uses all short lines)

Lots of memories
That make me smile to myself
Shake my head in shame
And cry in pain
From my childhood
Feelings coming up…

3.      Patterns with some kinds of stanza shapes

·         Looks like a staircase

This usually has lines that get longer as the poem goes on.

An example: (by author)

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I picked these flowers from the moon,

But if you truly love me please say thank you—

 Or I’ll have to give some to the messenger girl too!

·         Looks like a sandwich

Has short lines in the beginning, long lines in the middle, and shorter lines again at the end

An example: (by the author)               

Hamburgers are good,

They have cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, and pickles.

            Therefore they are good.        

·         Unusual shapes

The lines are of various different lengths with no pattern at all. Some people get creative and make unusual shapes such as: a flower or a triangle.


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