Let’s talk about rhyme.


The most recent insight I have had about

rhyme came when I was playing jazz with some of

the best instrumental talents of Canada, who’d come

into the Zanzibar tavern in the afternoons

to get up on stage and play.


It’s appropriate to play jazz in a Strip Club.

I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure that the word

“jazz” derives from the word, “jizz”. Hot music

has always been associated with sex. So it was

fun playing sets between the acts of the strippers.

It all became a flow experience, the music, the many-

coloured lights playing on the bodies of the

women dancing, the smells of food cooking downstairs

and the glint of the sun coming in off the chrome

of cars passing on Yonge Street.

The sour aftertaste of beer spills, my vodka and

tonics and the bitter taste of a stimulant

as it hits my nostril…  Joe, the silent but

efficient bartender working behind the long bar. The

gleaming of sun from the front window – just a narrow

slat of a sunbar making a golden stripe on the red


Listening to the notes, sometimes discordant

sometimes in sweet harmony. It all seemed like

a poem to me. The rhyme of sounds

came in a variety of unexpected rhythms.

And this is the way to use rhyme in a poem –

sometimes unexpected, a play with words,

in the flow of words, rhymes sometimes dicordant,

some words merely suggesting a rhyme with

another word that sounds a little like it.

Its a flow and a dance… It’s a sudden JOKE; it’s a


The rhythm always must come round to the starting point –

then fall away into the multi-coloured lightning

cymbal flash of night.

Darker still towards the stairs in the back.

Learning rhyme is an art. And its an

art that you never finish learning. You

can’t really talk about rhyme without

rhythm. Because rhythm determines

when the rhyme will come.

Just like in jazz, two harmonic notes

sounding together – fall away into something

else – silence, the ringing of a bell — darkness,

darkness… then slowly light emerges out

of the black hole in the poet’s mind, twisting,

circling up like a spiral, like DNA – a drumbeat

sounds, and then come the horns – bells and

horns drive away doubt.

You step forth into certainty, certainty

of the dawn rising in the mind of our artist,

circling round, a spiral out of the darkness,

up, up, up into the cool of the blues.

Most reggae songs start with the sound of the

horns… and then comes the rhythm,

sharply defined.


I can’t differentiate between music

and painting and poetry – the structures

of all three seem strangely as one to

me – in the darkness of the mind,

I see all three spiralling together,

weaving together like the strands

of D.N.A., like the thread of the Fates,

like the involving ties of love –

all one roar of the river.



The river is within. And

my form of meditation, of dreaming

while awake I call “RIVER-WATCHING

SITTING”. You let the river of your

thoughts, emotions, memories and

feelings, pictoral visions – let the

river flow by within you – you don’t

attempt to achieve silence – you don’t

repress, you let the vision river go,

you do not grasp

or hold.

Eventually the river will clear

and you will see yourself in its



It’s all one process,

as far as I am concerned:

it’s all one

undulation, tension and release.

And the clarity of watching this

river flow by, down down into the

past within you.

This way the clear-eyed

watcher learns about him-herself,

always the river within coursing past.

And there is no need to grasp,

no need to try to possess.

Because the river comes round

within you.








Ten thousand paths to dawn at the peak of the silver mountain.




(C) 2016 by W.G.Milne

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