Fun With the Rhymed Couplet

On this blog we have occasionally had a bit of fun and learned something at the same time perhaps about the mechanics of certain poetry forms.

The rhymed couplet was the dominant form of the Neoclassical Period in British literature and was predominant in the works of John Dryden,  Alexander Pope,  Jonathan Swift and most every other poet of that period.

The form lends itself well to aphoristic comments and playful observations.  The use of one such in the film “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” (1991) was echoed a bit later by a convicted murderer,  Robert Alton Harris,  as he was saying his “last words” on the way to the California gas chamber:  “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper.”

In March of this year one of my most devoted blog readers,  Frank B. Maness,  passed on to me via E-mail the results of a “Washington Post” contest involving the rhyming couplet.  The contestants were asked to compose a two-line rhymed couplet in which the most romantic first line was to paired with the least romantic second line.  Here are some of the finalists, as conveyed to Frank by his clever Aunt Louise:

1.  My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:                                       Marrying you has screwed up my life.

2.  I see your face when I am dreaming.                                             That’s why I always wake up screaming.

3.  Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;                                                    That describes everything you are not.

4.  I thought that I could love no other–                                             That is, until I met your brother.

5.   Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.  But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl’s empty and so is your head.

6.  I want to feel your sweet embrace;                                                 But don’t take that paper bag off your face.

7.   I love your smile, your face and your eyes;                                 Damn, I’m good at telling lies!

8.   My love, you take my breath away.                                                What have you stepped in to smell this way?

9.    My feeling for you no words can tell,                                            Except for maybe, ‘Go to Hell.’

10.  What inspired this amorous rhyme?                                             Two parts vodka,  one part lime.

Can you do as well,  or maybe better?



4 Responses to “Fun With the Rhymed Couplet”

  1. Tammy Stephens Says:

    You are a hoot!

  2. prayerwarrior_52 Says:

    were you a former Burma Shave writer? LOL

  3. prayerwarrior_52 Says:

    My two favorites:

    As I was going up the stair,
    I met a man who wasn’t there.
    He wasn’t there again today.
    I wish to h— he’d go away!

    I never saw a purple cow.
    I never hope to see one.
    But I can tell you anyhow,
    I’d rather see than be one!

  4. suziQwong Says:

    Great Stuff…Made me Chuckle:-) I’m an old friend of Ron’s via Clean Water Action via Miami…Born & Bread in The Bahamas…

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