Heart, Soul, and Rough Edges — A Gypsy Journey of Words and Wonder

How to Generate Rhymes

I love to write rhymed poetry, and as I have started on another collection of science fiction poetry set in the Aleyne universe, I’m planning to write a fair number of story-poems, a format which lends itself to rhyme.

Psychedelic Mountain

Psychedelic Mountain

I have my own algorithm for generating rhymes (more about that later), but I also make use of an online rhyming dictionary and an online thesaurus.

There are as many ways to write rhymed poetry as there are writers, but one of my personal favorites is a rhyme scheme which rhymes only two lines of a four line stanza, either the first and third or the second and fourth. It’s both less overwhelmingly sing-songy and easier to write.

Here’s my algorithm for generating rhymes

As a crossword puzzle fan, I realized early on that, aside from single letters, only certain sound combinations could start words:

consonant plus “R” sound:  br, cr, dr, etc.

consonate plus “L” sound: bl, cl, etc

and a few others: ch, sh, ch,  s + almost all the other two-letter combos, s+l,

and a couple of consonants plus “w” sound: kw (quick),  etc

The key,  of course, is to concentrate on how the word sounds and now how it’s spelled:
Thus, to find all words of one syllable rhyming with “ack”:

b + ack : back
bl + ack:  black
br + ack:  brack (not a word)
bw + ack bwack (not a word)


Here’s one of my favorite poems. In the seven-line stanzas below, the third and seventh lines rhyme.


 The True Nature of Housework

The clack and the clatter
of pots and pans
rattle and ruin the peace.
Sit under the window,
it sounds like a band
that’s quite out of tune.
Will noise never cease?

The gurgle of water
that drips down the drain
says the faucet continues to leak.
The doors on the cupboards
are coming unhinged.
I can clearly hear
the kitchen door squeak.

The plates he just washed
he’ll plunk down with a plop,
creating a crack or a chip.
The dishwasher door
is still open, I know
and I’ll bet there’s a plate
that sits poised on the lip.

The silver’s all tarnished
and needs to be wiped
with pink polish and a clean rag
It’s been just like that
for the last month at least.
It looks like it came from
a rag picker‘s bag.

I sit staring out at the
peaceful blue lake
and try not to think of the mess.
If I sit here and listen
I’ll just grind my teeth.
I’m going inside;
then I won’t have to guess.

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3 thoughts on “How to Generate Rhymes

  1. Lin Neiswender on said:

    What a great method! Have to print it out and post it on my wall.

  2. Pingback: Two Voices, One Song

  3. Jennifer Ruth Jackson on said:

    Rhyming only a couple of lines gives you more elasticity, I agree. Internal rhyme also helps alter the pattern so it becomes less predictable.

    I like how the example takes advantage of other devices (like alliteration) as well.

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