This week, I’m taking a detour from Form Street onto Rhyme Avenue.  Where that ends, we’ll follow the road less traveled, an unpaved trail called Oblique Lane.  Anyone who regularly writes rhymed poetry will wind up here sooner or later.  Oblique is an umbrella-term for rhyme that is close but not exact.  You might also hear it called slant rhyme, lazy rhyme, imperfect rhyme, half rhyme, near rhyme, off rhyme, or even assonant rhyme, phrases loaded with enough sorry connotations to make your best option sound like trailer trash.  Don’t let that scare you.  Oblique rhymes possess a jury-rigged cleverness that springs out and surprises the reader, a feat that turns predictable verse green (or maybe orange?) with envy.  The best excuse for using an oblique is the lack of a perfect rhyme, but who needs an excuse?  I adore them and encourage you to slide them into your poetry whenever and wherever you wish.  In that spirit, I’ve composed a LAI, an edgy attempt to prove that whoever said “nothing rhymes with orange” was only half right:


End-words like orange
offer a challenge
quite unique
Rhyme must be foraged,
an assonant change
in technique
A lazy, half-knowledge
slanted in homage
to Oblique

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  1. chevvy8 June 4, 2017 / 5:00 am

    Quite a brainteaser Joan. It’s made me think of all sorts of things – but as you say, you’ve achieved quite a feat in the jury-rigged cleverness of the poem.

    Before I get to the poem itself, you have a familiar references to detour,street,avenue,road,trail,lane in your preface – words that I have been preoccupied with recently. I suppose the use of the word oblique makes it just that – where meaning can be loaded so differently depending on what the reader makes of it.

    I started with your choice of the word “orange”. Yes, it isn’t an easy word to match so you settle for the next best thing. Since orange is a happy colour and sweet as opposed to lemons which we associate with hard times, I would hazard a guess that sometimes happiness stares us in the face and we don’t see or make the most of it. And, I would add that the imperfections,challenges etc come with the territory. What would life be if it came perfectly and neatly wrapped? Often, we only see things for what they are after the fact or the answer we’re looking for comes to us indirectly – in the the oblique fashion of your poem.

    Well done on yet another interesting piece! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan June 4, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      Thanks, Chevvy. Lots of things almost rhyme with orange, in fact, you can take your pick of the less than perfect, a metaphor for life if I ever heard one. I hadn’t intended for orange to represent anything in particular, it’s just the most well-known word that lacks rhymes. According to Google, there are other such words: silver, purple, month, ninth, pint, wolf, opus, dangerous, marathon, and discombobulate, but I didn’t fancy writing a marathon poem involving dangerous discombobulation. If life came neatly wrapped and tied with a bow, we would fail to appreciate it, and fritter away our precious time Tweeting garbage and adjusting our bad toupees. Have a great Sunday, always a pleasure to see you here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 June 5, 2017 / 12:17 am

        My pleasure Joan. Yes, I can’t imagine how your poem would have turned out with discombombulation 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan June 5, 2017 / 12:31 pm

        An exercise in frustration? Vexation? Dire desperation? Finding salvation in oblique arbitration? A standing ovation? Overall, not as discombobulating as I feared. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu June 4, 2017 / 10:01 am

    I find your homily to the slant rhyme as refreshing as a glass of fresh citrus juice in the morning, even if your rhymes with orange came off a bit strange.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan June 4, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      Hey, Tippy, love this comment. I guess you could consider Sunday poetry lessons taken from the Book of Joan as “homilies.” Oblique rhymes are indeed refreshing to someone like me, who has spent far too much time perusing the predictable groaners folded into Hallmark cards. Your use of orange and strange at the end tells me the lesson was not lost on you, and you’re the sort of daring person who would throw it right back at me (the lesson, not the glass of juice… I hope). Well done. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu June 4, 2017 / 5:26 pm

        Oh I enjoy your Sunday poetry lessons. And they’re better than any Sunday sermon I’ve heard.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. pranabaxom June 4, 2017 / 10:33 am

    When life give you oranges, make juice.
    That reminds me, it is time for breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan June 4, 2017 / 5:01 pm

      Great to see you, PB. We do the best we can with what life hands us. I saw a card once (about lemons, not oranges) that said “When life gives you lemons, tuck ’em in your bra. Couldn’t hurt, might help.” Same idea. Thanks for the visit and comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • pranabaxom June 4, 2017 / 7:29 pm

        😅😅😅I am trying to imagine the scenario but must be too old as my imagination fails me to visualize the scene.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. L. T. Garvin, Author June 4, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    I love your orange poem, Joan! I confess I’ve been a fan of the slant rhyme because sometimes, there just isn’t quite a word that rhymes. An homage Indeed 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan June 4, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks, Lana, always a pleasure to see you here. I started out using slant rhyme of necessity, but I’ve grown fond of it and feel it has a place even when there are “perfect” options. I’m a charter member of the Oblique Geeks; our organization’s flag is orange, purple, and silver–the three colors that don’t rhyme with anything. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author June 4, 2017 / 7:51 pm

        I’ve never thought about words that don’t rhyme with anything, ha ha, but I like those flag colors.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Peter Klopp June 4, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    I liked your introduction to your delightful poem ‘Imperfectly Perfect’. I did not know that there are so many terms for an imperfect rhyme. I guess that this particular ignorance is one of my thousands of imperfections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan June 5, 2017 / 12:24 pm

      Thanks, Peter. There are probably some I’ve missed, but this list is a good start. With the plethora of words for a half-rhyme, you’d think at least one would be affirming or positive. Poets like to bend rules, and this is just one more possibility for doing that. 🙂


  6. circumstance227 June 7, 2017 / 4:33 pm

    Allow me to add one to your introductory list: “alternative rhyme”.

    (Still!, I think your poem is great and that rhyming is over-rated!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan June 7, 2017 / 8:00 pm

      Love it, 227! Sort of like alternative facts? I’m a sucker for rhymes, perfect or imperfect. I grew up on green eggs and ham and electro-whoo-cardio-schnooks, so I like them in a box, with a fox, in the rain, on a train… any rhyme is sublime! PS: Is school out soon? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • circumstance227 June 8, 2017 / 7:18 pm

        To the last question – not soon enough, 3 more weeks.
        To the rest – Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You??
        Seems like we had the same earliest influences.
        To your title and the saying it alludes to: I never understood it.

        “When life gives you lemons . . .” . . . you have free lemons.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan June 8, 2017 / 7:32 pm

        In poetry, when life gives you oranges, you settle for alternative rhyme. Or write a Haiku or some free verse.


  7. Anacrazyfuturewriter May 13, 2018 / 8:27 am

    Nicely penned! I was not familiar with the ‘Oblique’ form of poetry, so thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely give it a go some time.

    Liked by 1 person

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