Rhymes in that ol' 5A, 5A, 7B; 5C, 5C, 7B structure
November 4, 2015 7:42 AM   Subscribe

What poems follow the rhyming scheme and syllable pattern shared by The Cremation of Sam McGee, Rocky Raccoon and the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?

All three of the abovementioned rhymes follow a similar pattern:

One line of:
4-5 syllables A, 5 syllables A, 7-8 syllables B
4-5 syllables C, 5 syllables C, 7-8 syllables B

i.e.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold

and

His rival it seems, had broken his dreams, by stealing the girl of his fancy.
Her name was Magill, and she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy.

Wikipedia lists this as a "Boy Named Sue" scheme, but I'm looking for things with the same specific syllable pattern as well as the AABCCB rhyme scheme.

This is mainly to drive my wife nuts by signing a large variety of things to the tune of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Thanks!
posted by Shepherd to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
A lot of Robert W. Service's other poems have a similar meter, if not the precise rhyming scheme ("The Shooting of Dan McGrew" (inexplicably called McGraw in the title there), "The Men That Don't Fit In"...).
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some googling suggests that this meter and rhyme scheme is called The Alouette. That should make finding more much easier.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:01 AM on November 4, 2015


I have heard of a land
On the far away strand,
'Tis a beautiful home of the soul
Built by Jesus on high,
Where we never shall die,
'Tis a land where we never grow old.

posted by nebulawindphone at 9:15 AM on November 4, 2015


Best answer: Steely Dan's song "Dr Wu" (the verses anyhow) also has this form.
Katy tried - I was halfway crucified,
I was on the other side of no tomorrow.
You walked in and my life began again
Just when I'd spent the last piaster I could borrow.
Also, looking at that link in the earlier comment, I'm not sure anyone but the author of that web page calls the form "alouette."

A good poetics form reference, Lewis Turco's Book of Forms, cites it as a common nursery rhyme form ("Jack and Jill" and "Mary Mary Quite Contrary" are his examples) and he explains how it's really a quatrain with added internal rhyme in the first and third lines:
This is nothing more than rhyming song measure---a Norse edda measure quatrain whose first and third lines are stichs of Anglo-Saxon prosody, and whose second and fourth lines are tripodic; that is, they are quatrains rhyming abab consisting of two couplets made of a full stich followed by a tripodic line. There are falling rhymes and falling endings, the only thing new added being the internal rhymes in the full stichs: the hemistichs rhyme. Secondary stresses do not figure in the system, only the strong stresses.

This podic quatrain stanza is called ballad stanza and many ballads are written in it (but not all of them, for the definition of a ballad is simply "a relatively short lyric narrative" and it may be written in any stanza form). Ballad stanza written in accentual-syllabic prosody rather than in podic prosody is called common measure or common meter, and it is the form of many hymns and other songs---lyrics. (pp. 29-30)
Sorry, probably more than you wanted to know, but interesting for those who like poetics.

A similar mash-up to what you want to torment your wife with using this scheme, is to sing Emily Dickinson poems to the tune of either "Amazing Grace" or, worse, "The Yellow Rose of Texas" which use very similar rhythmic schemes.
Because I would not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me (etc.)
posted by aught at 9:51 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Huey Lewis & the News, If This Is It

Stevie Wonder, I Just Called to Say I Love You

I am probably going to hell now to have my flesh consumed by earworms from 1983
posted by miles per flower at 9:54 AM on November 4, 2015


Believe me, he already torments me with the Yellow Rose of Texas/Emily Dickinson thing. :)
posted by Kitteh at 11:57 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Response by poster: Thanks, all. I didn't even think about nursery rhymes -- aught's post above was perfect and not too much information at all. Still happy to have any that meet that pattern suggested (sadly, neither the Lewis or the Wonder quite fit the syllable patterns).
posted by Shepherd at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Breakfast in Hell by Slaid Cleaves has always been a favorite.
posted by nenequesadilla at 7:10 PM on November 29, 2015


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