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Rhyme This

Traditional forms of poetry often leave me cold; but on occasion, a poet will surprise me. Wendy Cope’s “Some Rules” in the July-August issue of Poetry uses an ABA rhyme scheme with an ending couplet in the final stanza. The rhyme scheme provides a sarcastic and sort of whimsical undertone to the poem.

“Don’t fall for an amusing hunk,/However rich, unless he’s kind./Don’t answer e-mails when you’re drunk.//” Sounds like pretty solid and practical advice to me. The rhyme is a bit elementary, but I think it works here, especially since the rules are simple. The main rule in this poem seems to be not engage in activities with heavy consequences when drunk. However, the poet explicitly reminds the reader not to answer emails when drunk. As a reader, it makes me wonder why this rule is particularly important to remember.

The fourth stanza is full of regret, or so it seems to me. “Don’t live with thirty years of junk–/Those precious things you’ll never find/Stop, if the car is going ‘clunk.’//” Car troubles, plus rising piles of junk seem to get the poet down. It’s almost like the poet has created a list of New Year’s resolutions to follow.