ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Learn About Rhyming Schemes in Poetry

Updated on April 3, 2015
There are many different rhyming schemes used in poetry; each has a different effect on the reader
There are many different rhyming schemes used in poetry; each has a different effect on the reader | Source

The rhyming scheme in a poem can make a significant difference to how the reader reacts to it. In this article, we'll explore the differences between classic rhyming schemes and other, more complex schemes, including the impact on the reader of the poem.

Classic rhyming schemes

Many poems follow a classic AA rhyming scheme, where paired lines rhyme - e.g.

'The wind blew me strong, across the beach; The rising breeze robbed me from the power of speech'

or an ABAB scheme, where alternate lines rhyme - e.g.

'For free of blame and guilt are we; The runners of the Wyld Dream; Tossed tempestuous, within the sea; Moonlight rising, the gilded gleam.'

The joy of a standard AA or ABAB structure is that people know what is coming:

  • They can relax into the poem, understanding the rhyme and meter
  • They can get lost in the flow of the rhyme

Many song lyrics and structures follow this convention, so people know it. If you know what is coming next, you can enjoy the rhythm and the melody of the writing or the song.

This can 'lull' the reader, and the rhythm of the poem becomes as important as the words - it becomes central to the art form itself.

Discordant rhyming schemes

As soon as you start changing that rhyming scheme, that's when you start demanding more from the reader. A 'discordant' rhyming scheme and generally, uneven / unusual rhyme schemes can create quirky and slightly off balance feelings / images in the reader.

  • As soon as you start changing that, the poem demands more focus
  • It needs more work to 'unwrap' it and enjoy its nuances

The reader has to concentrate more on that type of poem. Because its more challenging, they could potentially find it more rewarding.

This puts the focus more on the words themselves; the poem can be a problem to be solved.

Very discordant rhyming schemes

Then of course, you have poems with very diverse rhyming schemes that become very discordant - The jazz of writing if you will. I think with that type of poetry, its the clever interplay between the words that creates a structure of language that needs real effort to navigate. Again though, the emotional rewards for this type of poem can be different.

Ultimately, write whatever type of poetry works for you, and adopt the rhyming scheme that makes the most sense; that way, you can use the art form as intended, to express yourself in a fascinating and interesting way, and take others with you on the journey.

Are you a poet? Let us know how you use rhyming schemes and what you think the impact is, in the comments.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Paul Maplesden profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Maplesden 

      4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I think that playing with different rhyming schemes can keep poetry fresh and interesting; Sonnets can be a little tricky, but I agree that they are fun to write!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good hub Paul. Most of my poetry rhymes but not all and I do vary my rhyming schemes so my work is always different and not predictable. ABAB is probably the most used over all however. Recently I was challenged to write a sonnet, which I had never done before. I had to research "sonnets" so that I knew what was required. It was challenging but I loved the result and can't wait to write more sonnets.

    • Paul Maplesden profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Maplesden 

      4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I'm not aware of the first form that you mentioned, but will look into it. Glad you enjoyed the article!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      It is interesting to see how a quatrain rhyming scheme pairs with the couplet in old forms like Terza rima and sonnets. The creation of these forms were based on how the rhyme scheme affects the reader. Great hub! Thanks. Jamie


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)