Writing Couplets

A couplet is two lines that go together. They can stand alone or be part of a stanza or poem. They don’t have to rhyme but most do, and there are no rules about rhythm or meter. You can read more about couplets plus some examples here.

Last week, my monthly poetry group did an exercise where we came up with a list of words: Garfunkel, carbuncle, whiplash, loquacious, fair, civet, bananas, boil, shiver, lollapalooza. We then each wrote poems containing couplets, using as many of the words as we wanted. Most of our creations didn’t make sense, but that was okay. We had fun writing and sharing them. Here’s what I wrote.



The Civet and the Lollapalooza




There once was a civet named Garfunkel,

who knew not the meaning of carbuncle.

About this, he just didn’t care.

He was planning to go to the fair.


He craved bananas so much

he would risk a monkey’s touch.

He hoped he would see monkeys there,

monkeys at the state fair.


On the way, a lollapalooza

told him he was a loser.

“You won’t find monkeys at the fair

because there won’t be any there.”


“But I want bananas so bad.

Are there none to be had?”

“Not at the fair, there will be none there,

no bananas at the state fair.”



Now, it’s your turn to write couplets. You can use the word list above or create your own. If you do this with a group, have each person come up with two words. You don’t have to use all the words in your list. Remember that couplets don’t necessarily rhyme. Have fun, and don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense. As you can see above, mine doesn’t. Please feel free to share what you write here.


Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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