Oct 22, 2009

Lai Poetry Form

The Lai is a form of French origin. It is not to be confused with the Breton lay, a quite different form of which Chaucer's Franklin's Tale is an example; or the lay, a term sometimes used for a short historical ballad, such Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel; or with the word lay used simply to mean a song.

Now that we’ve got that straightened out, the Lai is made up of one or more nine line stanzas. Each stanza is made of three triplets. The syllable count in each triplet of lines is 5, 5, 2, and each triplet rhymes aab. You can have any number of stanzas in your Lai, and the rhyme can vary between verses. To illustrate:


where each "x" is a syllable and "a" & "b" the rhyme scheme.

Before I give you my example, I’d just like to say there should be a rule (amongst all those other poetical rules) that states a form can have a strict syllable count or a strict rhyme, but not both. Just my humble opinion. :-)


We oft misconstrue
the things people do
for love.
Instead we imbue
a meaning or two
And then bid adieu
to one who was true
in love.

You thought to suggest
that I would be blessed,
I’m not.
You do not impress
and now you protest
your plot.
You said things in jest
that were perhaps best

But notwithstanding
A new day will bring
an ease from the sting
I ken.
And we’ll have by spring
forgot the whole thing
by then.


Anonymous said...

what the hell was that it was terrible and no help at all.

Anonymous said...

Those were good, they helped me.

Vivian Wei said...

Heh.. Sorry for that first comment that person gave you. That wasn't my comment, though.

My comment is that, it is a very good poem, but I couldn't really understand what it is saying at all. I guess this is what other people are thinking too. Just saying.

But, I guess it took you a long time to write that right?