Ae Freislighe: Poetic Form

I’ve covered so many poetic forms over the years, but still have somehow neglected the Irish forms. So let’s finish out May with the ae freislighe!

Ae Freislighe Poems

I think part of the reason I’ve avoided Irish forms is that the rhymes can be so intense, and that’s definitely the case with the ae freislighe. Here are the guidelines:

  • Quatrain stanzas (4-line stanzas)
  • 7 syllables per line
  • Lines 1 and 3 rhyme together, but they rhyme as three syllables (xxa)
  • Lines 2 and 4 rhyme together as two syllables (xb)
  • The final syllable, word, or line of the entire poem should be the same as the entire poem begins (the poetic term for this is dunadh)
  • Poem can be as concise as one stanza and scale out as far as a poet wishes to push it

Note: One strategy that helped me get started was to consider two- and three-syllable words before composing the poem.

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Here’s my attempt at an Ae Freislighe Poem:

Tennessee, by Robert Lee Brewer

Do you recall Tennessee
& all that late night kissing,
or is it a memory
once yours that’s now gone missing?

Perhaps there’s some video
for both of us to review
& retire to Ohio
with vows that we will renew.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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6 thoughts on “Ae Freislighe: Poetic Form

  1. Eileen S

    I gave it a shot. Could only do one stanza. Maybe I’ll play with it another time.

    Past Wounds by Eileen Sateriale

    End of the class reunion
    will it be well attended?
    Or will it be disunion
    with no bad feelings mended?

  2. taylor graham

    ONE STORY UP

    There’s an iron Pegasus
    on the balcony rusting –
    its pinions tremulous,
    for inspiration trusting.

    A child – unlike Daedalus,
    practical in all weathers –
    lifts his eyes emulous
    believing in flight, feathers.

  3. taylor graham

    FREE THE GIFT

    Spirit above Somerset –
    a bird so high and regal.
    You speak of an amulet,
    wing feather of the eagle,

    token of your heritage.
    Unbound flight without limit,
    I’d free it to pilgrimage –
    nature’s unfettered spirit.

  4. grcran

    wow, Robert, i really really like your poem… the rhyming is wonderful imo… and being of very Irish descent, i am heartily glad you brought this one up here for us…

    btw, for those like me who are auditory-bent, the pronunciation of Ae Freislighe is (ay fresh-lee) (this info from bookloaf (?))

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