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Ae Freislighe: Poetic Forms

Learn how to write the ae freislighe, an Irish quatrain, including guidelines for writing the poetic form and an example poem.

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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The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

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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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