Roses are red…

July 29, 2009


(This was originally posted during Valentine’s Day in February.)

Since it is Valentine’s Day, here is a classic English couplet for the occasion. 

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet;

And so are you.


The original author of this poem is unknown, but according to Wikipedia, it could have stemmed from the poetry of various authors.  Nonetheless, it has become one of the most famous poems for Valentine’s Day due to its use of simple words, rhythm, and rhyme.  The rhyme occurs on the vowel sounds of the words ‘blue’ and ‘you’.  Furthermore, each line has the same rhythm to it.  English is a stress-timed language (unlike Spanish, Chinese, Japanese) meaning that the length of a sentence or line of words depends on the number of stresses within it and not the syllables!  Typically, stress is placed on the content words (i.e. the nouns, verbs [but not ‘be’ verbs], adjectives, adverbs), rather than function words (i.e. prepositions, conjunctions, etc.)  In the above poem, it takes the same amount of time to utter each line as the stress is placed in the same locations in each line.  Utterance of the conjunction (i.e. and) and the ‘be’ verbs (i.e. is, are) is minimized as there is no stress placed on them.  Thus, although this is a poem, it still exemplifies the typical stress pattern of English, like conversation. 

Poetry is a creative expression of mundane happenings or things.  Yet, with some creativity, it could be humorous or very romantic and a fun activity.  Giving the above couplet to your significant other will definitely melt his/her heart! 

And while we’re at it, here is my creation-

A garden has many flowers,

Each with its own special powers,

Bees are attracted by their hues,

We love their scents which are not too few.