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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