Where have all the Good Rhymes gone?

Another post from the past.

Where have all the Good Rhymes Gone?

 I’m not sure when rhymes all but disappeared from modern poetry, but pick up any recent collection and you would be hard put to find a single rhyme. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, on the other hand, stop anyone in the street and ask them to recite their favourite poem and invariably, if they reply at all, it will be a rhyming poem. So people like rhyme but if poets have stopped rhyming where do people go for their rhyming fix?

The answer of course is popular song. Pop, folk, country, rock, rap, hip hop could not function without rhyme; obvious rhyme mostly, rhyme that can seen coming a mile away. If you hear ‘dance’ there will be ‘romance’; if you hear ‘night’, it’s going to be ‘alright’, if you hear “love’, there will be a ‘sky above’. This can be boring or comforting depending on your point of view. But there are rhymes in popular song, rhymes that avoid cliché, that manage to surprise. For example:

The bridge at midnight trembles

The country doctor rambles.

(Bob Dylan from “Love minus Zero, No Limits)

Or more recently, check out the “The Trapeze Swinger” from Sam Beam[i] of Iron and Wine who writes songs of such fragile beauty that it feels like they will fall apart if you touch them.

But please remember me, fondly

I heard from someone you’re still pretty

And then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates

Had some eloquent graffiti

 Or, from the White Album:

I’m so tired, I’m feeling so upset

Although I’m so tired, I’ll have another cigarette

And curse Sir Walter Raleigh

He was such a stupid get[ii].

‘Trembles, ‘rambles’, ‘poetry’, ‘graffiti’, ‘cigarette’, stupid get’, all rhymes that don’t resort to cliché, that manage to surprise and there are many more. So if there is anyone out there reading this, send me your favorites, let’s get a list going! Only two criteria: 1) the rhyme must surprise 2) no rhymes ending in ‘ution’ as in “make revolutions/ not institutions/ dilution/ is not the solution/ to pollution/ make restitution…enough already.

*******

[i] Why has Sam Beam not been made poet laureate of the United States of America? He could have written “Trapeze Swinger” alone, and he would be streets ahead of anyone else. Graffiti on the pearly gates -‘tell my mother not to worry’,  ‘rug-burned babies’, ‘a trapeze swinger as high as any savior’; check it out here:

[ii] Some websites write this as “stupid git”, but the album liner notes show it as “stupid get” which obviously rhymes better but also it would be more likely that Lennon being from Liverpool would use the Irish (and also Scottish) pronunciation ‘get’ rather than ‘git’ which is more common in the south of England. By the way, Wiktionary suggests that ‘get’ is related to the word ‘beget’, whereas I think it is more likely that it comes from the gaelic word ‘geit’ meaning ‘fright’ or ‘terror’. The meaning has since morphed into something close to ‘jerk’.

 

4 thoughts on “Where have all the Good Rhymes gone?

  1. Pleasant Street

    I can’t watch Trapeze Swinger here because it says it won’t show it in the U.S. But I’ll search for it elsewhere

    Love Beck’s rhymes and near-rhymes:

    “Pick yourself up off the side of the road
    With your elevator bones
    And your whip-flash tones

    Members only hyponotizers
    Move through the room like ambulance drivers

    Shine your shoes with your microphone blues
    Hirsute with your parachute fruits”

    Like

    Reply
    1. sdtp33 Post author

      HI there, Thanks for the Beck reference, which song is that? I like also this verse by Beck from “Tropicalia”:

      You’re out of luck, you’re singing funeral songs
      To the studs, they’re anabolic and bronze
      They seem to strut in their millennial fogs
      ‘Til they fall down and deflate
      Try this link for Sam Beam You’re out of luck, you’re singing funeral songs
      To the studs, they’re anabolic and bronze
      They seem to strut in their millennial fogs
      ‘Til they fall down and deflate
      You’re out of luck, you’re singing funeral songs
      To the studs, they’re anabolic and bronze
      They seem to strut in their millennial fogs
      ‘Til they fall down and deflate

      Like

      Reply

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