Writing Technique: Frame Rhyme

Written for:  Carpe Diem #940, blossom
This technique, used by the two haikai schools in vogue in Basho’s time (Teimon School and Danrin School), was also utilized in English poetry, where it was also known as the “para-rhyme”. An example would be back – buck. This rhyming device had almost completely fallen out of practice in poetry but was recently revived in rap-music. An extension of this technique is still used in jokes. By taking a known phrase or cliché, and then changing one part of it, it is possible to express a new idea. Examples: “He who laughs last thinks slowest.” or “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine”. Basho, by changing only one sound unit, was using the frame rhyme.

from Kyoto’s many houses
a crowd of ninety-nine thousand
blossom viewing

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Here is my attempt:

My, how he has grown, so fat in the waist.

A bird in the hand, involves much wriggling.

The early bird, gets sleepy more quickly.

The grass is always greener, when you spray paint it.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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4 Responses to Writing Technique: Frame Rhyme

  1. Ha ha ! A wonderful cascade of wisdom filled humourous haiku’s !your words make me laugh alone so loud !


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