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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 113 | volume  | May-June, 2017



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 113May-June, 2017

Time for Rhyme: Revisiting our Love of Poetry

p. 1
Sonja Srinivasan


Time for Rhyme: Revisiting our Love of Poetry

Many people say they don't like poetry, and it is not hard to see why: the Morose Poet presenting her work at our reading, droning on in a monotone; the odd, inaccessible words and phrasing; the personal confessions that might be best shared with one’s therapist or priest. These may all be true, but it doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. Poetry is an innate part of human language, starting with religious chants intoned in certain patterns of sound. Greek plays that entertain and instruct also pay careful attention to the meter of the language. The Bard, one of the greatest English stylists, gave us some of the best examples of rhyme in his sonnets. Many great epics from around the world are passed on orally, and therefore rhyme is a very useful device to help the reciter remember the text. And let us not forget the close connection of poetry to music – all the songs throughout the course of time, from early ballads to the blues to rap to opera – when we think of a song, we most immediately think of words that rhyme.

Perhaps rhyme is regarded with condescension because of its association in modern, educated times with children's literature. Rhyme is there to teach children sound, prosody (the pattern of sound and rhythm and intonation in a phrase/speech), and vocabulary. If a child knows the word "book,” then s/he can add to her or his vocabulary another word that sounds just like it but begins with a different letter, such as "look.” American children have grown up with one of the masters of rhyme, Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Consider one of the best-selling children's books of all time, Green Eggs and Ham, where the persistent Sam-I-Am is urging the other character to try the food and he refuses:
     Do you like green eggs and ham?/I do not like them, Sam-I-am./I do not like
     green eggs and ham.
    Where the rhymes of ‘ham’ and ‘Sam’ and ’am’ are repeated to get children familiar with the sound of ‘am.’ Notice the play of the language, and the stresses of the syllables. This makes it easier for children to remember the words, and ultimately for any reader, brings a sense of play to the language.

If we go back further into the Western culture,

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