4.4 Filling in the Blanks, part 2

The other way of filling in the gaps between rhymes focuses on the concepts implied by the rhyming words. If you take this approach, you are trying to make sense even though you don’t care about whether what you write is clear. We already did this a little bit with adding “covered in” to “musk,” since we noted that “musk” is a smell, and smells are things you can be covered in. But we might do that also for filling in the rest of the blanks.

To fill in the blanks with conceptually-linked words, you have to largely ignore the rhythm. So, if we have:

__________________________ elephant tusk
___________________________________ dusk

(that’s right, I’m tired of musk) we ask what it is that we might be saying about elephant tusks in the first line, and how that might be connected to dusk in the second line. We know we’ve only really got two syllables to work with on the first line, and five on the second, but we try to ignore that. We can figure out basically what we want to say first, and then rework how we say it so that it fits the melody later.

So, what does one do with, or about, elephant tusks? If one is a poacher, one hunts for them, turns them into ivory things like piano keys, or uses them as part of decorations.

And why would that be connected with dusk? Well, if you’re out hunting for elephants, perhaps you’re hunting at dusk. So, perhaps we want to convey an image of hunting elephants as the sun sets.

Hunting elephant tusks
Sundown, hidden by dusk.

Notice how we had to change “tusk” to “tusks” to make it work grammatically. But that’s okay. This is our song, and nobody can tell us what to do.

Or, perhaps we want to say that you can use elephant tusks to make things that are beautiful at dusk.

Carving elephant tusks
Beauty gleams in the dusk.

Or, perhaps most dramatically of all, we imagine a dusky dungeon with huge elephant tusks standing on end to which a prisoner has been chained by an evil Bad Guy.

Chained to elephant tusks
Dungeon, eternal dusk

If you go with the latter, I hope you’re writing a metal song, because that’s pretty medieval and dramatic.


*Notice that the first syllable of eternal is unstressed, but falls on a downbeat in this melody. Notice how awkward it sounds. This is bad.
Featured image provided by PublicDomainPictures.

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