Like composers, poets play with words to create sound effects in their poems. They try to bring out the music in words so that their poems are pleasing to the ear. You, too, can add sound effects to your poems by using devices such as rhyme, rhythm, repetition and onomatopoeias. Rhyme Rhyme is a clever device for echoing sound. If one word sounds like another, it creates a chiming sound when the poem is read aloud. There are many ways to rhyme, but the most common is to rhyme words at the end of lines, which is called end rhyme. Here's an example: I don't mind eels except as meals. By Ogden Nash A poem's pattern of rhyme is called a rhyme scheme. You can mark it with letters of the alphabet. Just put an A at the end of the first line and another A beside the lines that rhyme with it. Then put a B beside the next rhyme and another B with the lines that rhyme with that and so on. Here's an example: Once upon a time A I caught a little rhyme A I set it on the floor B But it ran right out the door. B By Eve Merrium Can you rhyme? Look at the pairs of words below and write YES if they rhyme and NO if they don't. sat/cat cat/bin man/can lot/map Answers: Y, N, Y, N Rhythm The rhythm of a poem is like the beat of a song - it can be fast and thumping or slow and soothing. A poem has rhythm if there's a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, for example, da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM (as in the poem below). Read the poem aloud, stressing the underlined words: If you should meet a croc-o-dile, Don't take a stick and poke him; Ig-nore the wel-come in his smile, Be care-ful not to stroke him. Anon Now read the poem but stress the words that aren't underlined. What happens to the rhythm? Repetition Your teacher has probably told you not to repeat a word in the same paragraph. But in poetry repetition makes a word or phrase stand out. It also carries rhythm. Here's an example: Louder than a clap of thunder louder than an eagle screams louder than a dragon blunders or a dozen football teams By Jack Prelutsky Now write four lines starting with Bigger than a ... Make sure you repeat the word bigger in the second and third lines. Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeias are words that sound like their meaning. Pop, bang, crash, drip and buzz are a few examples. Onomatopoeias help readers create sound in their mind. For example, in 'The car zipped through the traffic', the word 'zipped' makes us think of something moving fast, like a zipper. Here's an example of how you can use onomatopoeias: Tick tock, goes the clock. Bow wow says the dog. Quack quack says the duck. Croak croak says the frog. Think of a sound you hear every day. It could be the wind, the MTR, the school bell etc. Now jot down words to describe it. Then circle the ones you think are onomatopoeias. Rhyme, rhythm, repetition and onomatopoeias can enhance the sound of a poem. But they're not for everyone. Some poets can sense the basic rhythm in words and some can't. Whether you use these poetic devices is your choice.