Find additional articles about writing, performing, and related subjects listed here.
More about Darrell Arnold
(an essay by Darrell Arnold)
Here is a simple technique that cowboy poets can use to make their poems just a little better. Throughout the course of writing one poem, try to avoid using the same rhyme sound more than one time. I'll try to illustrate with a simple example:
I rode to the top of the hill one day
And saw the grandest scene,
T'was hundreds of red-and-white cattle agraze
In a valley of brilliant green
In every rhyme throughout the rest of your poem, avoid the "een" sound. You've used it once. Be fresh and original and don't use it any more.
Let's say, later in the poem, you have another rhyme, and what first comes to your mind is:
We cut out the bulls and headed them home.
The one with horns was keen
To turn back around and to go on the fight.
"Watch out, Buck, that horned bull is mean."
It might tell your story, but you've used the "een" sound for the second time in your poem. Find a substitute, something like the following:
We cut out the bulls and headed them home
The one with horns got mad
"Look out Buck," I warned, "cuz he wants to turn back.
I know that bull, Pard, and he's bad."
If you write 40 stanzas, then use 40 different sounds in your rhymes. Your poem will be better for it. It may not be easy, but it can be done. It just might take a little more work. As the Riders in the Sky say, "It may not be the easy way, but it is the cowboy way."
© 2008, Darrell Arnold, All rights reserved
This essay may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
See our feature about Darrell Arnold here, which includes some of his poetry and more information about his books and COWBOY MAGAZINE.
What's New | Poems
Features | Events
The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week
Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us
Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.
CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.
Site copyright information