Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the casbairdne, an Irish quatrain form.


Casbairdne Poems

The casbairdne is an Irish quatrain (or 4-line stanza) form that is packed full of poetic intrigue. Here are the basic guidelines:

  • 4 lines per stanza
  • 7 syllables per line (with a trisyllabic ending–which may mean a word or phrase)
  • lines 2 and 4 end rhyme
  • every couplet within each quatrain features at least 2 internal cross-rhymes
  • all lines share the same end consonant sounds
  • final syllable of line 4 alliterates with stressed syllable preceding it
  • poem (not the stanza) ends with the same syllable (or word) it begins with

Whew! That’s a lot to track in only 28 syllables per stanza.

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Here’s my attempt at a casbairdne:

oval teens, by Robert Lee Brewer

we walked alone in the night
fighting for our simple fate
unwilling to take a seat
or to cower as we wait

and we wander through the pain
say we don’t know what we mean
and believe love is divine
to shine light on sight unseen

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Note on the form: If there’s any confusion about what to do, please look at my poem (and keep in mind the cross rhymes can change position).

xxbxxxa
axxxxxb
xxxxbxc
xxxxxcb

xexxxxd
dxxxxxe
xxexxxf
xfxxxxe

In the first stanza, I alliterated “wait” with “we”; in the second, “-seen” with “sight.” Also, “-seen” rhymes with the first syllable of the poem “we.” All words share the same ending consonant sounds in stanza 1 (“t”) and stanza 2 (“n”).

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Author: Robert Lee Brewer

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