Whittled Words – Ae Freislighe Poem



Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




I think part of the reason I find Irish forms so difficult is that the rhymes can be so intense, and that is definitely the case with the Ae Freislighe (pronounced – ay fresh-lee). 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.



Examples of Ae Freislighe Poems:



by Tegan


Each morning I awaken,
feeling ready to transform.
Though my soul has been shaken,
I am choosing to reform.

Sometimes pain is hard to mend.
I have to let the past be.
I accept love that won’t bend.
I choose to let my heart see.



By Taylor Graham


There’s an iron Pegasus
on the balcony rusting –
its pinions tremulous,
for inspiration trusting.

A child – unlike Daedalus,
practical in all weathers –
lifts his eyes emulous
believing in flight, feathers.




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.




By Brad Osborne


Wanting not a strategy

No vehicle of action

Heart’s response to malady

Just emotional traction


To act is the confession

The cure for any despair

The only real expression

The start of any repair


Our hopes are not profiting

The hungry, homeless masses

To give any comforting

We must get off our asses


Act of giving physical

Emotions give them nothing

Doing is what’s critical

The only help to wanting




I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Ae Freislighe poem. Thanks for reading!




8 Responses to “Whittled Words – Ae Freislighe Poem”
  1. beth says:

    wow, this takes some skill – your poem is a good call to duty, let this be a reminder

  2. Jim Borden says:

    very impressive – I’ve been waiting for an Irish poetry form 🙂

    I used my first read-through to get the sense of how the poem worked, and the second read understanding what you were saying. To paraphrase Nike, if you want to help, at some point, you just gotta do it…

  3. jonicaggiano says:

    I like this form and have used it on my blog. I like all the examples and yours was a speaking of the truth in which I couldn’t agree more. Still it makes us ponder about our contributions over the years and we hope we make a difference.

    “Our hopes are not profiting

    The hungry, homeless masses

    To give any comforting

    We must get off our asses”

    Love the above lines they are so true. Hugs and love xoxoxo Joni

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