• Lucas North

Why it's time to consider rhyme

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

Photo: Daniel Tong/ Unsplash

The Oxford English Dictionary defines prose as:

‘Written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure.’

Which, I think, covers every type of writing except poetry. Every blog you post, every case study, every social update and every press release you send to journalists is prose.

But there are very good reasons to consider rhyme as a way of sharing your messages. Occasionally at least. Here are just three of them.

1. Talk like an Egyptian

Before we wrote, we spoke. I’m talking about the time before even the original tablets were invented. Every message, every instruction, every rule, every piece of news was shared orally.

Of course, sharing any type of message is pretty pointless unless the audience remembers it. Which is where poetry comes in. When our ancient Egyptian and Greek ancestors wanted people to remember stuff, they often used poetry to convey their messages.

Our primary school teachers followed suit. Which is why – even though it was a very long time ago for many of us – we still remember the following as one of the very first things we were asked to copy:

The cat sat on the mat.

Once we got past lazy felines, we learned more complicated stuff, like how many days are in each month:

Thirty days hath September

April, June and November…

And, of course, songs sunk and stayed in our spongy little brains because they rhymed:

It’s raining, it’s pouring

The old man in snoring

He went to bed

And he bumped his head

And he couldn’t get up in the morning.

Think of the song lyrics that stay with you now. The fact that they rhyme is a significant part of the reason you remember them.

2. Poetry slows us down

Anyone who has ever tried to write a poem knows it takes longer than prose. Try it. Look out the window and write down what you see. Now try describing that same scene using rhyme. Most of us live at breakneck speed. Slowing down occasionally allows us to think more deeply. The strain of conjuring the exact word to create a rhyme forces us to consider perspectives we normally bypass for the sake of speed. Sometimes, slow is the way to go. See what I did there?

3. Poetry can be fun

Writing poetry forces us to play around with words. And playing is fun. Few forms force us to play with words more than haikus. These meticulous Japanese poems are made up of 17 syllables in three lines of five, seven and five. Dr John Cooper Clarke makes fun of the form itself when he jokes “there is no Japanese translation for 'near enough’”. To hammer home his point, the Mancunian meter-maestro offers us this:

To-con-vey one’s mood In sev-en-teen syll-able-s Is ve-ry dif-fic

Yep, he actually ends his haiku mid-word to conform to the form’s strict 17-syllable rule.

Not unlike Shakespeare, Spike Milligan also liked to toy with rhyme:

Said Hamlet to Ophelia, I'll draw a sketch of thee, What kind of pencil shall I use? 2B or not 2B?

So, rhymes can be short, fun and memorable. How useful is that when it comes to sharing messages?

Maybe this is why a certain crisp company came up with:

Once you pop, you can’t stop.

Just imagine how valuable it would be to have a simple rhyme your customers remember you by without even having to see your brand name.

Get in touch if you want any help creating (poetry or prose) messages your customers love.

Thanks for reading.


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