Though rich in other literary elements, I use these poems with 10th grade students to focus on rhyme scheme.
Each poem has a different rhyme scheme and each poem has unusual characteristics with rhyme.
I teach my students to write about the rhyme scheme in a complete sentence:
The rhyme scheme is _________________________.
An example would be the following: "The rhyme scheme is ABAB, CDED, FGHG.
My old Man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well.
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m gonna die,
Being neither white nor black?
Once riding in old Baltimore
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking strait at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, “****.”
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember
There’s the wonderful love of a beautiful maid,
And the love of a staunch true man,
And the love of a baby that’s unafraid—
All have existed since time began.
But the most wonderful love, the Love of all loves,
Even greater than the love for Mother,
Is the infinite, tenderest, passionate love
Of one dead drunk for another.
“The Road Not Taken”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Tags: Literary Elements, Poetry, Rhyme