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Monorhyme

Monorhyme refers to the use of the same end-sound within multiple lines of a poem. Usually, the term describes poems that only use one end sound. 

A poem that uses this kind of rhyme scheme is usually quite simple overall. The poet is likely to use easy-to-understand language throughout their text. But, this doesn’t mean that every poem that uses monorhymes speaks on basic topics. Below, readers can explore a few examples of poems throughout history that utilize monorhymes. 

Monorhyme definition and examples


Monorhyme Definition

Monorhymes occur when every line rhymes with the same word/words. For example, lines of poetry that end with the following words: “cat,” “hat,” “mat,” and “bat.” While incredibly simple, monorhymes can still convey interesting and effective messages. 

Monorhymes can be used in any style, genre, context, or period of poetry. A writer could speak on any number of topics, using any kind of language with the same end sounds. Often, monorhymes are used in children’s poetry. There are a few great examples of monorhyme poems below. 

Examples of Monorhymes in Poetry 

A Monorhyme for the Shower by Dick Davis 

Dick Davis’ ‘A Monorhyme for the Shower’ is a commonly cited example of a poem that uses the same end sounds throughout. The poem begins with these lines: 

Lifting her arms to soap her hair

Her pretty breasts respond – and there

The movement of that buoyant pair

Is like a spell to make me swear

Twenty odd years have turned to air;

Davis is well-known as a translator, professor, and poet who is part of the New Formalism movement in American poetry. His poems have been chosen as “books of the year” by a number of prestigious publications, such as The Sunday Times. 

Money by Robert Frost 

Money’ by Robert Frost is a short poem first published in 1936 in Poetry magazine. The piece warns readers not to stress over every penny they spend. Throughout this piece, the poet uses monorhymes. This is seen through the use of the same end sound. In this case, every word rhymes with “spent.” The first lines read: 

Never ask of money spent

Where the spender thinks it went.

Frost goes on, concluding the poem, a few lines later, with: 

What he did with every cent.

This poem’s concise use of rhyme should make a long-lasting impression on the reader. From this example, it’s also easy to see how this form of rhyme could be used in children’s poetry quite easily. When applied to writing created for young readers, it can make poems easier to understand and easier to remember/enjoy reading. 

Discover more Robert Frost poems

Even the Rain by Agha Shahid Ali 

In some poems, there are sections that use monorhymes and sections that don’t. Such is the case with the ghazal, a form of Persian poetry, it is a type of poem that is constructed with couplets, repeated words, and rhyming words. It is exemplified by ‘Even the Rain.’ Here are the first four lines: 

What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.

“Our glosses wanting in this world”—“Can you remember?”
Anyone!—“when we thought the poets taught” even the rain?

The poem uses the word “rain” fourteen times at the end of the lines. This creates a unique form of repetition and monorhyme that sets the ghazal apart from other poetic structures. 

Read more Agha Shadid Ali poems

Silent Silent Night by William Blake 

This lesser-read William Blake poem makes use of numerous monorhymes. It reads: 

Silent silent night

Quench the holy light

Of thy torches bright

For possessd of day

Thousand spirits stray

That sweet joys betray

In the stanzas of this poem, the poet uses the same end sound within each tercet. The first stanza rhymes AAA, the second: BBB, the third: CCC, and so on. 

Discover more William Blake poems.

FAQs 

What is a monorhyme scheme?

Within a monorhyme scheme, the poet uses the same end sound (sometimes with different words and sometimes with the same words). Monorhymes could stretch through the entire poem or be divided up into different stanzas. 

What is an example of a couplet?

A couplet is a two-line stanza, or set of two lines that sometimes rhyme and sometimes don’t rhyme. Often, couplets are confined to their own stanza. For example, the two-line stanzas of ‘The Year’ by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. The first two lines read: “What can be said in New Year rhymes, / That’s not been said a thousand times?”

What is the AABB rhyme scheme?

An ABAB rhyme scheme is known as an alternate rhyme scheme. This is due to the fact that the author changes from one end-sound to the next and then repeats the pattern. 

What are quatrains in a poem?

A quatrain is a four-line stanza. This stanza could follow a specific rhyme scheme, like the popular ballad pattern (ABCB), or be written in free verse. This would mean that the four lines do not follow a rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. 

What is a monorhyme poem?

A monorhyme poem repeats the same end sound throughout or throughout individual stanzas. For example, it might follow a rhyme scheme of AAAAA or AAA BBB CCC. 


Related Literary Terms

  • Alliterative Meter: a type of verse that focuses on alliteration as a way of creating a metrical structure. Alliteration is used rather than accents or rhymes.
  • Broken Rhyme: an interesting type of rhyme that occurs when a poet cuts a word in half to create a rhyme. 
  • Cadence: the natural rhythm of a piece of text, created through a writer’s selective arrangement of words, rhymes, and the creation of meter.
  • Closed Couplet: a pair of lines that are grammatically complete, or at least logically complete, on their own. They also usually rhyme.
  • End Rhyme: a common type of rhyme found in poetry. They occur when the last word of two or more lines rhyme.
  • Exact Rhyme: a literary device that’s used in poetry. It occurs when the writer uses the same stressed vowel or consonant sounds.
  • Free Verse: lines are unrhymed and there are no consistent metrical patterns. But, that doesn’t mean it is entirely without structure.


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