Ken Gosse generally writes light poetry using simple language, meter, and rhyme in verses filled with whimsy and humor. First published in The First Literary Review–East in 2016, his poetry is also online with Academy of the Heart and Mind, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Home Planet News, Impspired, and others. He is also in print anthologies from Pure Slush, The Coil, Truth Serum Press, Peking Cat, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, he and his wife have lived in Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Germany, Virginia, and now in Mesa, Arizona over twenty years with two or more rescue dogs and cats always underfoot. Their four children and their grandchildren are scattered around the county, mostly at long distances.
Prime Your Rhyme
Rhyming’s as easy as pie: “One, Two, Three!” (which rhymes with both “ABC” and “XYZ”), but words with identical sounds don’t fit in— they’re called homophones—when you write right you’ll begin to notice some sounds that you hear here and there (such as weather and whether, perhaps fair and fare) as a pair bring a tear and cause poems to tear (“tear” and “tear” are a homograph/non-rhyming pair) and like tails of tales which have wandered away from the start of their story, leave you in dismay. But a word doesn’t rhyme with itself, though of course even that common guidance can throw you off course since combining a sound with another may force them to rhyme in due time without any remorse, whereas homographs have the same letters but don’t sound alike, so when pairing you’ll find that they won’t meet the need of rhymed pairs, so refuse such refuse; don’t let others abuse you for rhyming abuse— no excuse will excuse such faux pas on the loose. There’s also near-rhyme, words of similar sound which collide with each other then crash to the ground. Many raps and free poems, some classic verse, too, have used it quite often (not well—those are few). My prejudice shows! Yes, I call that “rhyme crime” and I cringe when I read it. Examples (NOT mine): • they make my cat sad, • put a frown on a stone; • describe ways of grace; and to pick one more bone: • crush fruit with a foot. Though I may be alone, still I think the point’s moot (not a true rhyme for foot—that’s a rhyme I’d refute, and so I’d recompute and write “crushed by a boot,” though of course, one might whine the wine wouldn’t be fine). But Shakespeare and Dickinson, Browning, and more such as Shelley and Yates, many others galore used slant rhyme (that’s a hoitier word for “almost”). Heaven knows, who am I to discount such a host.
The Road Once Taken
The bricks diverged and there I stood. Beside me, Toto, as we were both At the start of our wander in yonder wood. A scarecrow there—I wondered, should I begin conversation, but I was loath. Then spoke the strawman, to my surprise, “I sing and dance, but don’t scare crows.” As I looked above, they filled the skies and nibbled his straw before my eyes; perched on his hat, they bit his nose. We traveled on and gained two friends; The bricks were clean; none trod before. Each hoped that they might make amends, Fully aware our success depends On a stranger, arrived from distant shore. Then by and by we met a witch Who soon would die a fluid death (I’d left her sister in a ditch). For my return, I thumbed a hitch Then clicked my heels and held my breath. Perchance a dream—but this was real! Aunt and uncle and crew were there— The stranger, too, of magic zeal, Yet all just grinned at my appeal And the diffidence of my stare.
The chariot’s yoke wasn’t bolted on tight and when it broke loose, the horse bolted in fright. His apology to his friends said he was rude; his legal apology blamed his wife’s mood. Although they were all buckled in with great care, they buckled when they hit the next car’s derriere. The armies fought bravely and cleaved to their king but the losing kings’ heads would be cleaved from their bling. He retired, then coasted downhill all the way until his health sent him downhill the next day. Even lackluster vampires will, fairly often, dust off the dust on the top of their coffin. Each morning, he’d watch Holmes peruse through the news then in greatest details, he’d peruse all the clues. They seeded each pumpkin’s damp cavernous core, then seeded the pumpkin patch so they’d have more. On Casey’s last swing, he did not strike the ball but “Strike three!” was the umpire’s terminal call. They first trimmed the branches to even the tree then trimmed it with Christmastime filimagree. They weathered a hurricane on their way home till their old weathered ship broke apart in its foam. Many bones lay below, far beneath where they tread on the beautiful overlook high overhead. To mitigate mourning, the site had this warning: “Don’t Overlook Safety When Counting the Dead.”