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Frank Coffman

Terror at Twilight (a Seadhna Sonnet)

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Terror at Twilight

a Séadna* (pronounced: shay-na) Sonnet

by Frank Coffman


Doom! the blood-red sun is dying.

Clings it close on western rim.

Curséd Night is quickly nighing,

Thick clouds weep; day graying grim.


Grim the shape that in the shadows

Grows at ancient forest’s edge—

A Creature dread from Hell’s hollows

Made by spell of Yellow Mage


Magic dark has dragged it hither.

Earth is not it’s normal home.

And, now here, we know not whither

It will wend, nor rather roam.


Roam it shall! The Mage has bidden

Spell took from page of hidden tome.



“The Rules for the Irish SÉADNA

The basic requir4ements of the form:

1.     Quatrains of 8-7-8-7 syllables

2.     Lines 1 and 3 end on 2-syllable words

3.     Lines 2 and 4 end on 1-syllable words

4.     Lines 2 and 4 end-rhyme [I’ve used slant rhyme in section 2 << my variation]

The more difficult requirements  of the form:

5.     Every line has alliteration

6.     The final syllable of line 1 alliterates with A stressed word of line 2

7.     Line 3 rhymes [I’ve used slant rhymes << my variation] with the penultimate word of line 4

8.     There are TWO aicill rhymes [cross rhyming the final word of a line with either the first or an internal word in the next in the second couplet].

9.     Final word of line four alliterates with the preceding stressed word [Any preceding stressed word << my variation—also, section 2 fails in this, and only the ending couplet fully fulfills it]

10.  Each group concludes with dunadh [ending with the same sound (letter, syllable, or word) with which it began] OR it can mean [linking by chain rhyme one section with the next by using the last word of each section as the first word of the next  [<< I have used this latter option].

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Very spooky, in the spirit of the season. My favorite line has got to be "Earth is not its normal home" :excl:


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Thanks Tony,

The Irish forms (and the Welsh) are pretty challenging in English. This one is especially tricky. In the Celtic languages, alliterations, assonances, and even rhymes (certainly slant rhymes) are not nearly as difficult to find. In Welsh, the bards at the eisteddfods have to do some of the 24 official Welsh meters impromptu!!!  Most of the stuff I've had published lately is in the weird, horrific, supernatural, speculative range.

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