a : relatively close juxtaposition of similar sounds especially of vowels b : repetition of vowels without repetition of consonants (as in stony and holy) used as an alternative to rhyme in verse
So, what we're talking about is a euphonious flow of vowel sounds in our words. I had an example of Alan Rickman reading Shakespeare's 130th Sonnet that I was going to use as an illustration, but driving home down a country road after 3 am after work lately has brought me to a place of listening to wild, loud music for about half an hour every day to stay awake. One of my favorites has been Tom Waits' Real Gone album and yesterday it hit me how perfect the song Don't Go Into That Barn works for this exercise. Also, Tom Waits' music tends to be "coming off the rails" and beautiful mixtures of the flaws falling in line, elements of discord lining up in beautiful ways, like dropping a set of pots and pans down a flight of stairs and having them just happen to, for the one time in statistical history, create a perfectly executed song on their way down. I feel that assonance is a perfect fit for his work.
I would especially point out this section:
"Bank since Saginaw Calinda was bornNote the flow of vowel sounds and the pairing of near rhyme in "low" and "bones," "farm" and "barn," etc.
It's been cotton, soybeans, tobacco and corn
Behind the porticoed house of a
Long dead farm
They found the falling down timbers
Of a spooky old barn
Out there like a slave ship
Wrecked beneath the waves of a rain
When the river is low
They find old bones and
When they plow they always
Dig up chains"
Padgett does not provide the fence of a form this time, so I'm just going to free associate a bit. Remember, I never said these exercises had to produce excellent material on the first try, just like sparring matches aren't expected to win heavy-weight championships (I was really taking a risk attempting a sports metaphor, I'll have you know.) We are doing exercises here. The important thing is to do them.
If you choose to do this exercise, feel free to try it with any form you choose.
The Assonance of Lost Time
by Paul Mathers
Old oily Rome with stony, holy domes,
Battered walls caterwauling, the obvious ancient.
My abode in my globe corner seems so recent.
A modern fresco masking the echo of footprints.
The ancient painted over with sassy artifice,
to mask matter's eternality, mutability,
all reborn, dust reformed,
cities made of clay remains
of whatever came before.