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!




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

    that must be quite a challenge. upon first reading the rules it sounds much easier than it really is to execute using just 2 or 3 syllables.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thanks, Beth! The syllabic requirements attached to the rhyme scheme do make it a challenge, but I think the rhythm it creates is worth the hard work. Thanks for all your constant support, my friend!

  2. A most engaging form that can lead to wonderful poetry, like the ones you’ve featured, and in particular your example.

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