Rhyme and Meter

I love a good poetic form. Really. I think sometimes a little structure can frame a poem (or the thoughts that go into the poem) rather nicely. I tend to write more pantoums than anything else, because I like the way the lines braid with themselves.


Rhyming poems aren’t my favorite thing to write. Every time I try, I feel like I’m in 5th grade, trying to be Shel Silverstein. They just come out childish and lame. I was ready to pronounce all modern rhyming poems dead. Outside of song lyrics, I had no use for them.

Well, yesterday I stumbled upon Neil Gaiman’s poem Dark Sonnet. And I’m in love. He has single-handedly revived rhyming poetry for me. Most lines are in pentameter (one line could be 11 syllables, depending on your pronunciation of “poem”), and most of it is iambic. 

I’m inspired once again to try writing a poem like this.

Here’s the poem:


Dark Sonnet

by Neil Gaiman


I don’t think that I’ve been in love as such

although I liked a few folk pretty well

Love must be vaster than my smiles or touch

for brave men died and empires rose and fell 

for love, girls follow boys to foreign lands 

and men have followed women into hell  

In plays and poems someone understands 

there’s something makes us more than blood and bone 

And more than biological demands

for me love’s like the wind unseen, unknown  

I see the trees are bending where it’s been

I know that it leaves wreckage where it’s blown 

I really don’t know what I love you means 

I think it means don’t leave me here alone 




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