Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday ~ Celtic Quatrain

I thought an ancient Celtic-Irish stanza form would be just the thing for our Sunday mini-challenge, but the more I researched, the more I came to realize that there is nothing "mini" about writing in the original bardic forms.  On the contrary, it would take a lifetime of singular study to ever master the complicated rules.




from Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael

One point must be emphasised, the bard served a hard and difficult apprenticeship where memory and accuracy of story and form was constantly being tested. These poets were imaginative, intelligent as well as gifted. They did have one advantage however and that is of the spoken language. The language they spoke lent itself to natural rhythm and rhyme and possibly alliteration and consonance.

Celtic Cross, County Kerry, Ireland: source flickr.com

Note: 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.

Map of Ancient Ireland
I have selected the simplest quatrain form, which can be extended into a longer poem of three or four stanzas, but if you would like to attempt the more complicated options, you will find instructions on how to write them HERE. It is important to remember that Irish poetry is cyclic and the last line should end with the first word or the first complete line of the poem.

Ae freslighe
(ay fresh lee)

Each stanza is a quatrain of seven syllables. Lines one and three rhyme with a triple (three syllable) rhyme and two and four use a double (two syllable) rhyme. As was stated earlier. the poem should end with the first word or the complete line that it began with.

x x x x (x x a)
x x x x x (x b)
x x x x (x x a)
x x x x x (x b)

The following exemplar is taken from the same source, The Poet's Garret, as given above.

Undressed


Undressed trees stand shivering
as flimsy shifts blew away;
the last leaves are quivering,
till they too will drop, decay.


Under bark’s rough covering
grow tiny cells in wonder-
blooms to be, still hovering,
kept safe from autumn’s thunder.


Dreams of spring are flowering
in darkened night’s soft caress;
lovers cuddle, showering
moist kisses on skin, undressed.


©Leny Roovers


Ancient Entrance Stone at Newgrange, Ireland


If rules for form poetry turn your brain to a lump of stone, but the idea of Irish Celtic poetry etches a few swirls upon its surface, then the Free Verse option is also available, written to the theme of all things Irish.


The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the form challenge.
Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links, but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.

17 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

I meant to include a quick link to Rhyme Zone, which can be helpful when finding two and three syllable rhymes.

http://www.rhymezone.com/

Marian said...

lurve! xo

Heaven said...

Yes, I used that too Kerry ~

Well I took a stab at this ~ let me know if it meets the requirements ~ Happy weekend ~

Gemma Wiseman said...

This was quite a challenge! But fun! I think I scraped in!

hedgewitch said...

Wonderful, Kerry! You know I love this stuff, and this form in particular really looks toothsome. I've had a long week, and only been posting previously written material, but hopefully this will get things sparking. Thanks.

Hannah said...

This is an excellent form, Kerry!!! Thank you! Happy Sunday poetic peeps!!

Mary said...

This was REALLY a challenge, Kerry; but in the end it turned out to be great fun!

hedgewitch said...

Phew--much harder than it looked. I'll be back when my mowing's done for some reading to see how others did with this one.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I tried one of the other forms, called Deibhidhe, which includes a lot of alliteration and a cross-rhyme or two.. Not an easy challenge for late Sunday.

Laurie Kolp said...

Thanks for the challenge... mini? I think not. = )

manicddaily said...

Hi Kerry! I tried one! I found it a lot of fun, but harder than expected because of the short lines really. Mine is quite silly but Irish! (Ha!) In a very silly sense - takes place in Dublin anyway, and still have Joyce on the brain after Bloomsday. Thanks much. k.

Marian said...

whew! yes, enjoyable! but it is laaaaate! i'll be around tomorrow to check out everyone's Irish. :) thanks, Kerry.

Herotomost said...

Sorry, linked to the wrong one...that was supposed to be for open link. Not sure how to remove something. I suck.

Margaret said...

Oh, I'm too intimidated! But I will swing by in the morning to read the ones who braved this out! :)

Susan said...

Thanks for "Rhyme Zone" which helped me to think this through. I can't believe that I finally really did it! It doesn't "sound like me" in form, but it gives eloquence to some typically-Susan content. Great challenge.

Hannah said...

"Dance with nature joyously,

need for ego negate.

One with all this poignancy,

taste buoyancy, partake."

I added this stanza to mine to alleviate the last form stipulation that I overlooked and also to clear up some of the confusion around the meaning in my last stanza.

Smiles!!

Hannah said...

"Dance with nature joyously,

need for ego negate.

One with all this poignancy,

taste buoyancy, partake."

I added this stanza to mine to alleviate the last form stipulation that I overlooked and also to clear up some of the confusion around the meaning in my last stanza.

Smiles!!