Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Poetry Stretch - Lai

The Lai is a French syllabic verse form consisting of one or more stanza of nine lines with two rhymes, though the rhyme can vary from stanza to stanza. Here are features of the form.

  • 9 lines.
  • Rhyme scheme is a-a-b-a-a-b-a-a-b.
  • Lines ending with rhyme a are five syllables in length.
  • Lines ending with rhyme b are two syllables in length.

 You can read more about this form and its variants at Poetry Form - The Lai. You can read an example at The Poet's Garret.

Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.


  1. NOT easy.

    To A New (Boy) Friend

    Can there be a rhyme
    That pierces my time,
    A dart?
    Or perhaps a chime
    That counts out the time
    We’re apart?
    We’ve barely a dime
    To pay for that tme.
    Let’s start.

    Jane Yolen

  2. Agree. Not easy at all :)
    A Warning

    The Vampires arise
    Under savage skies
      To seek
    A suck-culent prize
    Oh, how they despise
      The meek
    They've planned your demise
    So say your goodbyes
      This week.
    (Ok, I admit that's a bit grim :) )

  3. This is tough, but I tried. Here's mine!

    A Lai for Beginnings

    students rollicking
    like lambs gamboling
    schools start
    children flourishing
    it’s encouraging
    teachers smart
    then astonishing
    day’s end picnicking
    warm heart

  4. I love the other two-clever in the relationships-content & words-especially, even the grim one.

  5. I totally forgot Vikram did vampires! (Was going to do zombies, but found a dearth of rhymes. Werewolves were worse.) Anyway...

    On Nights

    On nights pulsific,
    stark, tenebrific,
    the squire
    drifts out morbific,
    his breath algific
    and dire,
    roams vaporific,
    yearning specific—

    --Kate Coombs

    1. Kate, You can never have too many Vampire poems, ever! :)
      P.S. You significantly expanded my vocabulary with this one. Nice! :)

  6. These are all good, guys. But I agree, the lai was hard--and I had a tough time giving up meter. So I didn't! Here're mine...

    Haute Couture

    She wore a red dress
    to try to impress
    my dad.
    but I must confess
    he couldn’t care less,
    the cad!
    ‘cause she was a mess
    despite that nice dress—
    too bad.


    I didn’t say no
    when you had to go—
    I knew.
    I tried not to show
    my heart sinking low—
    for you.
    but I’ll always know,
    and think of you, Jo—
    with rue.

    1. Yes! Giving up meter was hard. The eighth line of my poem totally ruined it for me, but I couldn't find the words to keep it going. Guess I need to keep revising ...


    My sisters Connie,
    Bonnie and Loni
    hug me
    My brothers Johnny
    and Giovanni
    dug me
    My cousins Shawnee,
    Tawny and Yani
    mug me.

    (c) Charles Waters 2012 all rights reserved.

  8. Joy 8/31/2012 5:55 AM

    It is that 2 syllable line that is hard, just when you get going with the couplet, you have to break the flow with that abrupt 2 syllable line. Is it cheating to use feminine rhymes?

    Here is my contribution in honor of tonight's blue moon.

    Night Dreams

    While I am sleeping
    A lizard leaping
    My eyes start blinking
    What was he thinking
    Then I am screaming
    I wasn't dreaming

    Joy Acey

    1. Hey, Joy--nice to see you here. And great lai!

  9. I love these! This form was really hard for me, and I admit I am way out of shape to begin with. YAY for Trisha getting us back online with the stretches!!! I posted my attempt at Lai for my Friday Poetry this week.

  10. “That’s One Small Step for [a] Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind”
    By Steven Withrow

    “One small step for man”—
    that’s how it began.
    Right? Wrong?
    ’Cause my best friend, Dan,
    says it doesn’t scan.
    said he whispered an
    “a” before the “man.”
    So long!

  11. Jane's right! This was not easy. Here's what I came up with.

    words float in my head
    scratched with pencil lead
    not right
    lines revised reread
    onto paper bled
    at night
    desk with papers spread
    by poetry led
    to write

    I feel as though I cheated a bit with led and lead, but I kept coming back to pencil lead and couldn't get it out of my mind.

  12. Hey Tricia, isn't that called an exact rhyme? It works!

  13. Yes, though now that I reread I see I also used write and right! Perhaps I need a new rhyming dictionary ...

  14. Identity rhyme is the new black.

  15. Lord Mayor Goodwin
    quaffed tonic and gin
    dead posh!

    Lord Mayor Goodwin
    waltzed with a hatpin
    my gosh!

    Lord Mayor Goodwin
    kipped in a dustbin
    pish posh!

    --Carol-Ann Hoyte