Bouts-Rimés (rhyming ends) 6 comments


a gold key, a turquoise key and a purple key, all identical in shape

The invention of bouts-rimés is attributed to a minor French poet of the 17th century named Dulot, of whom little else is remembered. (At least we remember him for something!) Bouts-rimés is literally French for “rhymed-ends”.

Dulot was complaining one day that he had been robbed of a number of valuable papers, and, in particular, of three hundred sonnets. Surprise being expressed at his having written so many, Dulot explained that they were all blank sonnets, that is to say, that he had put down the rhymes and nothing else. The idea struck everyone as amusing, and what Dulot had done seriously was taken up as a jest. They continued to be abundantly composed in France throughout the 17th century and a great part of the 18th century.

Poets, Sonneteers, and Comic Writers, take note! What a wonderful form to play with!

Here’s how we can have fun with this:

1. Add a list below of 14 rhyming words. Let’s be modern and use slant rhyme. And even if you think you’re not a poet, 14 words isn’t so much to ask!

Whether you intend to write a poem yourself of not, you’re welcome to contribute a list of words. Part of the fun of this excercise is in creating absurd word lists–and then trying to link them together in a poem. So go wild!

Some rhyme schemes to help you out:

  • Shakespearean sonnet: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
  • Spencerian sonnet: ABAB BCBC CDCD EE
  • Italian sonnet: ABBA ABBA CDECDE (one of many patterns)

2. Take someone else’s list and write a poem to fit the words! Have fun, and please share it if you feel comfortable.

Here are some lists to get you started:

  1. orchid, provoke, livid, dovecote, bamboo, abide, amber, high, crank, mine, mountebank, nighttime, willow, tomorrow
  2. dog, rabbit, bone, rabid, habit, carrot, abbot, garret, wear it, hide, tear it, lied, truth, vermouth
  3. snow, sleep, heap, go, flow, creep, leap, woe, hope, strive, blanche, cope, live, avalanche

6 thoughts on “Bouts-Rimés (rhyming ends)

  • dp

    Bouts-Rimés pour Everest

    Majestic mountains fashioned with snow
    Dogged climbers search places for sleep
    Prayers ascend not to fall in a heap
    All for one, one for all must they go

    Consciously fight bleak thoughts as they flow
    Struggle to mind dark visions they creep
    So easy to end in one long leap
    One more dark base camp fire tale of woe

    Still onward they step, hearts filled with hope
    They’ve made it this far willing to strive
    An ominous sound, fell faces blanche
    Each suddenly wonders how they’ll cope
    One searing thought, a strong will to live
    Worst fears come alive, an avalanche!

    • dp

      ^^^ snow, sleep, heap, go, flow, creep, leap, woe, hope, strive, blanche, cope, live, avalanche
      Italian sonnet: ABBA ABBA CDECDE

  • RJG

    I like “slant ryhme,” sometimes referred to as half ryhme or lazy rhyme. So, this is a result of my “lazy” attempt at the exercise –

    ~TO BEE~

    It came to me;
    just a little bee.

    Wind and momentum, its’ saving grace
    Avoiding, with skip and bounce, the quarter inch gallows of space.
    It came to rest on a long wooden slat,
    Presumptuously resting for its next lap.

    Straining wings with no buzz,
    Fading sight in many eyes
    Confined by the cracks
    of false hope in blue skies.

    It’s just a little bee, I said.
    No affect on me.

    Try, trying, tried.
    Balancing on the edge, exhausted and alone
    Hanging on to the delusion it’s still going home.
    It crawled, hind legs dragging,
    from the shadows to the light.
    A frozen will to live,
    soothing its plight.

    You don’t affect me, little bee.
    Quite the contrary, can’t you see?

    Even life’s flickering rays
    Observe the Grey Knight.
    Why can’t you let it come,
    And give up your fight.

    Another attempt,
    Another struggle
    Soon Sun and Moon,
    You’ll no longer juggle.

    Dark shadows encroach
    And then quickly swallow.
    Please little drone,
    there’s no time to borrow.

    We don’t always have tomorrow.

    You don’t affect me
    Little bee.
    I’m not crying;
    No … no … not me.

  • Mark Walker

    Nicely done D and RJG. I’ve not been around much for a while, but thought I might be able to kill two birds with one stone? a bouts-rime and a dog poem….not sure the structure works very well, but I guess that’s not the point!

    It is only when studying my faithful old dog
    As he chases over fields after a frightened rabbit
    That the saliva which slides like he’s spied a bone
    Makes him look like he’s really quite rabid

    He chases everything like he’s forming a habit
    Running head long like a donkey pursuing a carrot
    We were sued fair heavy when he bit that old Abbot
    The main reason we go back to that terrible garret

    I got him a muzzle, but the bugger won’t wear it
    though I bought an expensive one made from Ox hide
    He balked at the affront and started to tear it
    and chewed on the remnants in his bed where he lied

    I know I should give him away that’s the truth
    But he’s trained to retrieve me stolen bottles of vermouth

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