Feb 18, 2010

Ae Freislighe

Until the 5th Century the only written form of Irish was Ogham which was used solely for carving into trees and gravestones. As a result Gaelic Poetry was based on sound structures to make them easy to remember, with rhyme not as important as repetition, alliteration and rhythm.

The Ae Freislighe (ay fresh-lee) is an Irish syllabic stanza form. Almost all the Irish and Welsh forms are complex systems of rhyme, alliteration, and consonance. It is often difficult to reproduce such forms in English, so particular attention should be paid to the rhyme scheme and syllabification.

Simplified, the Ae Freislighe is a quatrain stanza of seven syllable lines. Lines one and three rhyme in triple rhymes; lines two and four rhyme in double rhymes. The poem (not the stanza) should end with the same first syllable, word, or line with which it begins. The technical term for this ending is dunadh, and it occurs in all the Gaelic forms. The diagram looks like this:


xxxx(xxa)
xxxxx(xb)
xxxx(xxa)
xxxxx(xb)


Your poem can contain as many stanzas as you are prepared to take to tell your story, however the last line of the poem, as stated previously, should end with the same syllable or word or line that it began with.

For example, if your poem started with the line “Blowing winds change direction” then the final line of your poem should end with the syllable “blow”, the word “blowing” or the entire line.

My example was a little harder to write than I expected, for the simple fact that I found it hard to write in seven syllable lines. I kept wanting to use eight.


Gazing Into Yesterday

Gazing into yesterday
All my thoughts have gone askew
Leaving me in disarray
With new pathways to pursue.

Changing thought with direction,
The path ahead is unclear;
Hopes and dreams of perfection
Suddenly become austere.

In my path is temptation
Of all my heart could desire
Forge ahead to salvation
Spirit flying e’er higher.

Needed here, a new perspective
Maybe one that’s more mundane.
Isn’t that our first objective?
Maybe then we start again.

I have come to realize
With chosen words for phrasing,
The poet will idealize
Yesterday into gazing.

6 comments:

Jamie D. said...

I can see what you mean about the 7 syllables...I think that would be difficult too. Your example is wonderful though - well done! :-)

C R Ward said...

Thank you Jamie! :-)

I don't know which was worse, limiting myself to 7 syllables or finding double and triple rhymes that fit. LOL

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

I've never heard of a Freislighe before and loved learning it from you. Your example was lyrical and elegant. I'm no good at poems and so I'm awed by those are able.
Take care my dear,
Simone

Erica said...

Beautiful piece! My poetry doesn't rhyme, but I do love to read the kind that does. Wonderful job ;o)

Bryan said...

You're example is great for teaching newbies to poetry. Keep it up.

C R Ward said...

Simone: Your writing is already lyrical enough, you don't need to write poetry. :-)

Erica: Thank you! I'll have to look for a non-rhyming form for you. ;-)

Bryan: Thanks for commenting! I do a poetry post every Thursday.