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Deibhidhe and its Variations

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Irish Verse Forms

Deibhidhe (jay-vée) ( light rhyme) and its variations are dán direach (requiring alliteration in every line).  The forms are written in rhymed couplets in which a stressed end syllable rhymes with an unstressed end syllable. In English, rhyme is usually between 2 stressed syllables (yellow/ mellow, time/ rhyme ) but Celtic verse often deliberately rhymes a stressed and unstressed syllable (distress / angriness, west / conquest), easier said than done. As with most ancient Irish forms the Deibhidhes are written with cywddydd (harmony of sound) and dunadh (ending the poem with the same word, phrase or line with which the poem began)  

  • The elements of the Deibhidhe are:
    1. written in any number of quatrains, each line has 7 syllables.
    2. composed with light rhyming in couplets, rhyming a stressed end syllable with an unstressed end syllable.
    3. alliterated, alliteration of two words in each line,
    4. written with the final word of L4 alliterating with the preceding stressed word.
    5. composed to include at least two cross-rhymes between L3 and L4. (the cross rhyme has a little wiggle room and can appear anywhere within the first half of the line.) Rhyme scheme aabb ccdd etc.
      x x x x x x a
      x x x x x x a
      x b x x x x b
      x x b x x b b
      Rain's Grace by Judi Van Gorder
      Listen to the late rain sing
      a wave of wind songs ringing
      mending the hearts of all men
      lend us grace Oh Lord, listen
  • The Deibhidhe Baise Fri Toin (Baise Fri Toin, deviates from the consistent syllable count and requires 2 syllable end words.) The elements are:         
    1. written in any number of quatrains.
    2. written with uneven lines:
    3. syllabic 3-7-7-1.
    4. alliterated, alliteration of two words in each line,
    5. light rhymed, aa bb.
    6. terminated, written with two-syllable end words in L1 and L2.
      x (x a)
      x x x x x (x a)
      x x x x x x b
      Easter Goodies by judi Van Gorder
      Best blue bow
      Peeps in white, pink or yellow
      jelly beans in time tested
      Girls agree,
      boys bite the Easter bunny,
      chocolate eggs, creamiest
  • Deibhidhe Guilbnech (I am only guessing that guilbnech means simplified or retracted because the defining feature is to use only stressed end words when supposedly deibhidhe means light rhyme or rhyming stressed with unstressed syllable.) The elements are:
    1. written in any number of quatrains, each line has 7 syllables.
    2. alliterated, alliteration of two words in each line,
    3. rhymed, aabb.
    4. written with all end rhyme stressed even though the name suggests otherwise.
      Guilbnech by Judi Van Gorder 
      Too late to become a bard
      to write rhymed rhythm is hard
      Two lavish lines that are new
      and reach requirements too.
  • Deibhidhe Guilbnech Dialtach ( I'm guessing again, Light rhyme retracted with consonant end words.)The elements are:
    1. written in any number of quatrains,
    2. each line has 7 syllables.
    3. rhymed, aabb.
    4. alliterated, alliteration between two words in each line,
    5. all end-words should consonate.  So the rhyme aabb still needs to end with the same last consonant.
      Celtic Form by Judi Van Gorder
      Start with lines to separate
      thoughts from rhetoric, relate
      wondrous words to craft the art
      then bring me back to the start.

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