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Poetry at laterlife  - The Rhyming Couplet


Poetry at Laterlife

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Ronnie Goodyer, editor of Poetry at Laterlife, has had hundreds of poems, sketches and articles published, including several as Featured Poet, plus appearances in galleries and exhibitions.

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The Rhyming Couplet


This is the form that practically everybody knows and is encouraged to write.


It is almost certainly what people will associate with poetry, and any spontaneous verse will use this end rhyme.

A couplet is a pair of lines where the last words of each line rhyme.


 It is what we can see from the last two lines of the sonnets we’ve discussed:





so precious are true friends who lend their ears

and give their time to wipe away sad tears.


Joy Saunders

….. Nodding perfume. In my garden birds sing,

Roses bloom, and I am remembering.


Josie Falla

These examples have the same syllable count in both lines, 10. It is common in couplets that lines are the same length as it gives a natural rhythm. This form is often, quite rightly, criticised for ‘obvious’ rhymes – cat with mat, moon with June – and it is a good idea to avoid the obvious unless it is perfect for meaning. Always try to look for the unusual, the different, it’s your poem, so put your mark on it. Don’t make it a ‘clunking’ rhyme that everyone else may have written. Writing about Edinburgh, John Bird has used the place names or local events to link as the end rhymes:

where you can take a rest on Arthur’s seat
when you tire of the throng on Princes Street

and similarly

where the east wind blows across the Braids
up the legs of kilties on parades

If you read these aloud you will notice how freely these examples read because the stress and rhythm is correct: there is a natural emphasis in the rhythm of the lines. You wouldn’t say PARades, the emphasis would be parADES, which rises with the BRAIDS in the preceding line.If you tap your foot while reading you’ll again follow the rhythm:

where you can / take a rest on / Arthur’s seat
when you tire / of the throng on / Princes Street

and again the couplets have the same syllable count, 10 and 10 in the first example, 9 and 9 in the second. I would strongly suggest you look at examples you may have written and maybe not too happy with and adjust the syllable count to match. You’ll be amazed at the difference. I confess I do this with all my couplets poetry:

No sound of traffic and on a springtime night (11)
a Falmouth horizon, a harbour-view sight; (11)

Your Turn

As with the sonnets earlier, I would like you to submit your poetry to me, this time of course in rhyming couplets. Try to pick a subject that will interest many but be thought of by few. Use the suggestions above and enjoy! I would suggest a poem of around 12 lines or so, therefore 6 pairs of couplets. I will publish a selection on the site for all visitors – and we have a lot – to enjoy. Use the site email with ‘Couplets’ in the heading. I look forward to seeing your submissions and please contact me if there’s anything you are unsure about.


Best Wishes,


Ronnie Goodyer



Here at poetry at laterlife we will be continuing our series of verse forms. There is no hard and fast order with this agenda so if there is anything you are particularly interested in, just drop me a line. Also forthcoming will be themed competitions with various awards and, subject to demand, our own anthologies. Although it is well in advance, one scheme is to publish an anthology prior to Christmas to give personal gift opportunities. Details of this will be forthcoming shortly.




Please send submissions, comments, queries to me at:


ensuring that you use pal as part of the email heading.

If you would like to receive details of Reach poetry magazine, The Dawntreader literary magazine or current Indigo Dreams Press poetry competitions please email with specific interest to:


Good luck with your creativity and I look forward to welcoming you as a laterlife poet.



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