Rhyme and regular meter are out of fashion among modern poets, it seems. These two ancient poetic conventions are seen as archaic and useless survivals, like textual appendixes.
There are still versifiers who persist in rhyming and writing metrically in the face of the sheer seriousness of the current poetic community, a grim phalanx of free verse advocates who tend to frown on such archaic fripperies, viewing rhymers in much the same way many people view the participants in Renaissance Fairs and Frontier Rendevous gatherings.
Nevertheless there is a certain pleasure to be obtained from reading a deftly-turned rhymed verse, like watching a virtuoso juggler at work. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the light verse written at the drop of a verbal hat by commenter Joan Ryan. The Digital Cuttlefish is another master of the form.
Ogden Nash is the grandfather of them all, though. He brought great wit and verbal facility to his rhymes, which are unjustly neglected these days. I was reminded of Nash when I came across this e-mail in a digest of a daily word list:
I’ve never encountered a back-formation more delightful than Ogden Nash’s “glimp”:
A shrimp who sought his lady shrimp
Could catch no glimpse
Not even a glimp.
At times, translucence
Is rather a nuisance.
Varun Narasimhachar, Waterloo, Canada
Nash freely played around with spelling and meter, often to a delightful effect. Did you know that he is the originator of that classic rhyme:
Another good one, a send-up of pedantry;
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
“You mean,” he said, “a crocodile.”