Diminishing Rhyme

Diminishing Rhyme

A Lesson by Thomas Skahill

How to set up and find inspiration for diminishing rhyme schemes in all forms of poetry.


Today I will be talking a bit about “Diminishing” or “Nesting Rhymes”. This form can operate both on pure and slant rhymes, relying more on the physical construction of the word than the phonetics. A diminishing rhyme starts off with a multi-syllabic word such as “Manifold” and moves into “Fold” and finally “Old”. My view of a diminishing rhyme is it as a technique which enlarges mundane or frivolous words by juxtaposing them with their richer, more eloquently rhymed counter parts. For the the purposes of my example I chose three bigger words: Liberty, Delicious and Vocabulary. From there I came up with the rhyme constructions of: (Liberty/Gritty/Tea), (Delicious/Justice/Kissed) and (Vocabulary/Contrary/Wary). The three stanza poem I came up with is as follows


Untitled (In Progress)


Alone, we sip the liberty

of some over gritty

obsequious English tea.


What we mistake for delicious

can never do justice

to what is truly kissed


and though our tongues lack vocabulary

our hearts seek the contrary

and always dance

in a fever, forever wary.


Although my poem diverges from the structure I set up, the point of the exercise is not to blindly adhere to format but to create a different way of thinking about rhyme and maybe come up with a few stanzas that can be re-incorporated into another work, or become more fleshed out themselves.


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Thomas Skahill
Thomas Skahill

santa barbara, CA

Published In The Catalyst, Larcenist, Inscape, and Emergence literary Journals. Worked as an editor for the latter for a brief stint and currently getting back into production.